ELMHURST, Ill. (WGN/CNN) – An Illinois couple say thieves broke into their house and stole what they thought was a jewelry box.
But there was no jewelry inside.
Instead, they took the ashes of the couple’s infant son, who died five years ago. Now, all they have left to remember him by are plaster casts of his tiny hands and feet.
Billy was a twin. His surviving brother is Matt.
“Billy was very sick from the beginning,” mom Sue LaDeur said of the boys who were born nine weeks early. “Billy had a lot of problems, so he passed away at 10 days old.”
In the time since his death, his parents had built a small memorial to him on their dresser.
But when someone smashed a window and broke into their home, they ransacked it and stole a few things, including Billy's ashes.
The LaDeurs believe the thieves thought the box had jewelry in it and are hoping the burglars will have a heart and returned the ashes.
“It's all we have left of our child,” said dad Jim LaDeur. “Let us have that back."
The couple said they were planning to bury their son's ashes with them when they died.
Whoever has the ashes can return them to the crematorium or even put them in the mail, according to the parents.
They said the box has the name of the crematorium on it.
Police are investigating the break-in.