Thief has change of heart, returns baby's stolen ashes

Thief has change of heart, returns baby's stolen ashes
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — "Devastated" is probably an understatement to describe the way Paula Lopez felt when thieves made off with a number of items stolen from her home. Among them was a pink-colored urn containing the ashes of her unborn baby, Marie Guadalupe.

"It was horrible! Just crying, praying, asking so many questions and getting no answers," said Lopez.

Marie Guadalupe died in 2004 while still in Lopez's womb, at just 26 weeks, and was one of two twins. The other baby survived, though born prematurely at just 30 weeks.

Burglars hit Lopez's Rosedale-area home on Jan. 6 while the family was at church. Lopez tried to keep herself occupied after reporting the loss to sheriff's investigators.

"But it was so hard to (concentrate) ... I was thinking, 'God, am I ever going to get (the ashes) again?'" said Paula.

A strong believer in her Catholic faith, Lopez went to church and lit candles to several saints, including Our Lady of Guadalupe. And she asked God for help.

"Just send me something, a sign that I will get 'em back," said Lopez.

Five days after her daughter's ashes were taken, and while she was making dinner, Lopez got a phone call from investigators. The ashes had been found.

"I said, 'You're not keeping my hopes up?' He said, 'No, I got 'em.'"

Someone apparently had a change of heart and left the pink-colored urn in front of an office door at New Life Church on Stine Road and White Lane. A maintenance worker found the urn and turned it in.

"I feel like my family is together again. It was not the same," said Lopez.