AKRON, Ohio — Baily Cole remembers her mother, Kelly Williams, as a crafty, caring and comforting woman who loved birds, especially owls.
So when Williams died at the age of 46, Cole purchased a silver necklace with a colorful blown glass owl to hold her mother's ashes.
Williams was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer on Thanksgiving 2018. She was gone six months later.
"It's been really hard. Aubri (Coles' 5-year-old daughter) still asks about her "Mimi" almost every single day and tells her how much she misses her," Cole said.
The cost of the necklace was about $40, but the sentimental value was priceless.
Cole, 27, initially wore it around her neck, but she worried it would break, so she hung it from her rear view mirror in her Chevrolet Sonic. She felt her mom—through the owl—protected her while driving.
"It's just a spiritual thing, like I know she's around me all the time, but it's physically seeing that and being okay to talk to it, I guess in a way, because it's an actual figure," Cole said.
Cole is now heartbroken after that precious necklace was stolen from her car.
"I just want it back. That's something I can't replace," she said.
Around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, someone stole Cole's car from her driveway on Bloomfield Avenue in Akron. Cole said the crook or crooks broke into her boyfriend's car and found the spare key to her vehicle before taking it on short neighborhood joyride.
Police found the vehicle abandoned less than two hours later near the intersection of Wildwood Avenue and Orrin Street. The outside was not damaged, but the inside was ransacked.
A car seat, blanket, bookbag and toys belonging to Aubri were stolen along with the irreplaceable necklace containing the remains of Williams.
In a tearful interview with News 5 on Thursday, Cole said, "You took my car. That was so disrespectful enough, and you're just just gonna take someone's mom's ashes, like why? What was the point of that?"
Cole posted information about the crime on Facebook looking for anyone who may have seen the necklace in a trash can, on the side of the road or anywhere else.
"And then I just stayed up until 3 a.m. just praying at that point," she said.
Cole believes the thieves smoked marijuana in the car because of a potent smell left behind. A black, slide Nike sandal was also discovered in the car. Cole wonders if Akron police can test it for possible DNA.
But for now, her main focus is hoping someone will return the owl holding her mother's ashes—no questions asked.
"I don't care. I just want the necklace."