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Air Force family’s son’s ashes and all possessions lost after U-Haul stolen during move

Police lights (Dreamstime/TNS)
March 09, 2021

A military family lost all of their belongings after someone stole their U-Haul during the family’s move to Barksdale Air Force Base (BAFB) in Bossier City, La.

The U-Haul was stolen while Airman Ben Benton, who was recently transferred to Barksdale, and his family of four stopped to rest for the night in Georgia on their way to their new home. According to Benton, everything was taken, including their son’s ashes, KSLA reported.

“They were in a small, black urn that was in the shape of a heart and had some gold etching on the top,” Benton said. “You can’t put a price tag on that stuff. Us losing our child and then losing the urn, it’s like losing him all over again. It’s the worst feeling in the world that I would not wish on anybody.”

Realtor Dena West, who had recently sold the Bentons a home, immediately took action after hearing the family’s devastating story.

“I believe God puts people in my path for a reason and I’ve always believed that real estate is my ministry,” West said. “I knew they had crossed my path for a reason and this is a the reason why. I just picked up the phone and started calling people and it snowballed. We’ve had help from Word of God, Johnson’s furniture. We have neighbors that I have never met that heard the story and are stopping by, giving paper goods, filling the fridge. Volunteers of Shreveport have stepped in and helped. All of the wonderful agents at RE/MAX Real Estate Services have donated money.”

The family has also received support from Trey McGuire, president of a local charity for military personnel called Every Warrior, who said the group is raising money to help the Bentons rebuild.

“They have seen amazing support from friends, organizations, churches, base leadership, etc…all spanning multiple states,” McGuire wrote in a Facebook post. “While we can never replace the horrific loss of the remains of their child, we can help ease the overall physical burden that will allow them the space to process what has happened, and that’s all we want to do.”

Several local realtors, as well as future neighbors, also created a GoFundMe account for the Benton family. Mr. Benton said he is grateful for the community, especially Dena West.  

“We weren’t expecting this,” Benton said. “Coming here the community has been amazing and helped us out a lot. Dena has been a huge, huge blessing with everything between house stuff, being here, reaching out to the community. I just can’t even put it into words. That woman is a saint.”

According to Covington, Georgia police, the U-Haul was found abandoned, but their son’s ashes were not found. The investigation remains open.