The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

July 23, 2013

Police: Baby's ashes taken in purse-snatching

— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Montgomery police were trying on Monday to locate the ashes of a newborn baby contained in a purse someone snatched from his mother.

Monica Thomas of Montgomery was carrying the cremated remains of son Jamar Simmons Jr. when she was knocked down by a robber who took her handbag Friday night, said police spokeswoman Martha Earnhardt.

The child only lived a couple hours after his birth, and the woman was carrying the remains in her purse because she planned to bury them at her mother's gravesite the following morning, on her 20th birthday, Earnhardt said.

The ashes were in a small box with the child's name and birthdate on the front, along with the name of the crematorium that handled the body.

"Just bring my baby's ashes back. Put it on the porch or either just call and tell me where it is, and I'll be grateful," Thomas told reporters. "I just want my baby back."

The person who grabbed the purse probably didn't know the ashes were inside, Earnhardt said.

"There's no reason to believe this is anything other than a purse snatching with contents that were unanticipated," said Earnhardt.

Police Sgt. Mike Myrick said investigators are asking for the public's help in locating the suspect and the stolen purse.

"Even if, at best, we just get the urn back," Myrick said.

Thomas was walking outside when she was approached by a young man wearing a black shirt and red shorts, Myrick said. He grabbed her purse, the two struggled briefly, and then he fled.

The young woman was knocked down but wasn't injured.

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