Marilu Lemus of Reedley has a small alter in her living room. Right next to the religious icons of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus was a blue urn that contained the cremated remains of her daughter, Lupita. "She's my daughter and I had her there with much love," said Marilu.
But on Sunday, when she returned home from work, several items were missing from her apartment -- including the box with her daughter's remains. "Where is it? I couldn't find it and I started to cry and then my other daughters started crying too," said Marilu.
Lupita was stillborn at 6 months. Marilu still has pictures of her daughter's sonogram and footprints.
Working in the fields as farm workers, the family couldn't afford a casket and proper burial so they decided to cremate her body instead. But now Marilu doesn't understand how someone could be so cruel to steal something so sacred. "To the person who stole it, I ask that you return it," pleaded Marilu.
Detectives on the case think the burglars must have thought the urn was a jeweler box. "It's unfortunate. It's tragic in this case. The victim obviously is very heartbroken," said Sgt. Sean Provost with the Reedley Police Dept.
Police are asking the thieves to return the urn to the Reedley Community Center - no questions asked. "We really want to help the victim as much as possible and truly try to make the situation better for her and get back to her what is most important to her," said Sgt. Provost.
The crooks also made off with gold chains and a piggy bank. Items that Marilu said are replaceable. "The only thing that matters to me is my baby. I don't care about the other stuff," said Marilu.
If you have any information on this case, you're asked to call the Reedley Police Department.