AKRON, Ohio — While dealing with the heartbreak of losing her beloved father, an Akron woman is looking for answers after her car that her father’s ashes were in was stolen from a street in Akron Thursday.
Larry Payne, 69, died from COVID-19 complications on Jan. 21. His only child, Jessica Brazile, said the loss has created a void in her life.
“He was always there," she said. "That was the one thing that was consistent in my entire life.”
Payne didn't want a funeral. Brazile, an only child, said she was keeping her father's packaged cremated remains by her side in her car until she could find a suitable place for them.
“I couldn’t touch them, I couldn’t take them apart, I didn’t want to open them. I just couldn’t,” explained Brazile, 41.
On Tuesday, Brazile said she dropped the key to her Chevy Cobalt somewhere between her home and where the vehicle was parked on Kelly Avenue in Akron. She searched for several days, to no avail.
“I called a locksmith to actually make me a key. About an hour later he calls me and says, ‘I’m about 10 minutes away. I’ll be pulling up.’ So I said, ‘OK, I’ll come outside.’ And when I came outside, my car was gone,” she explained.
Brazile said her concern about the missing car was secondary to her devastation over the missing box of ashes inside the vehicle.
“I just want my dad back,” she said. “I can’t lose him again - not like this.”
The mother of two saved for several years to afford the 2006 Chevy Cobalt. With a gift from her adult son, she purchased the used car in January. Brazile said she’ll now need to find alternate transportation to work. The stolen vehicle will also hinder her goal of getting a second job in order to save money for a better home for herself and her 9-year-old daughter.
“It just hurts when you’re actually doing the right thing and that gets spoiled,” she said.
Brazile filed a stolen vehicle report with the Akron Police Department on Thursday and the car information will go into a national database.
“We would always put that car on our stolen auto list. So not only our police department, but area police departments, would know to be on the lookout for that vehicle,” said Lt. Michael Miller.
Lt. Miller explained the person responsible for stealing the vehicle or receiving stolen property could face several felony charges.
“This obviously is very near and dear to this particular young lady. We would like the vehicle returned and the property returned. So I would ask anyone to please leave it as they found it,” he said.
Brazile is making an appeal for the return of her father’s ashes.
“Just please give me my dad’s ashes back. I understand if it was an opportunity, you needed a car. I understand that, that’s fine. I don’t want to get anybody in trouble. I just want to be able to get my dad back,” she said.
The vehicle is described as a 2006 blue Chevy Cobalt with a navy blue fender, no hubcaps and a temporary tag in the rear window. Anyone with information is asked to call Akron Police.
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