PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Allison Kelly says it was hard enough to lose her husband, Chuck, in August to a heart attack. He was 58.
But losing track of the urns containing his ashes is hitting just as hard. "I just felt like I lost him all over again," Kelly said.
Kelly mailed two urns containing her father's cremated ashes to Chuck's daughter in Port St. Lucie. The plan was to scatter the ashes at her father's favorite fishing spot in the Florida Keys.
"He told me that was heaven to him," said Kelly.
When the box arrived all that was left in it were her father's flannel shirts that were used to wrap the urns. The package was only sealed with one piece of tape.
The U. S Postal service is not sure where the urns disappeared.
"I'm hoping that it's sitting on someone's desk and they just don't know who it belongs to," said Kelly.
Debra Fetterly with the U.S Postal Service says she takes a loss like this very seriously.
"I was very upset because all mail is important to us, but especially when you have cremated remains of a loved one. That's especially important," Fetterly said.
Fetterly has alerted the nearly 10,000 U.S. Postal Service employees in Florida to watch for the urns. She also contacted managers in the other cities where the package was handled.
"In some cases, they may have seen it in the mail stream," said Fetterly.
The Post Office did create a new label in August that can be requested to mark packages that contain cremated ashes. Fetterly says urns have been lost in the past. The new labels would help mail carriers know to treat the package with extra care.
Kelly says now, she's just focused on completing her late husband's final wishes, by finding and scattering the ashes to gain closure.
"I think to really move on we need to do what he wanted," said Kelly.
Fetterly recommends that anyone mailing ashes or any other sentimental, fragile items to mail them using registered or express mail. The package carrying the urns was not sent that way.
The family is offering a cash reward if the urns are found.