Man’s Stolen Car, with Wife’s Ashes Inside, Turns Up at Stockton Port

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A sigh of relief. In the palm of his hand, Melvin Hayes holds his wife of 49 years.

“I got the urn,” Hayes said.

Hayes says a phone call at 2 a.m. Saturday from the California Highway Patrol informed him that his red Ford Fusion – and the urn with his wife’s ashes – turned up at a port in Stockton.

“Who thinks of this? Somebody even writing a novel couldn’t think of this,” Hayes said.

The urn was in the backseat, Hayes says, when his car was stolen Thursday from Premier Car Wash in Elk Grove. Investigators believe the attendant mistakenly handed the keys to a woman, now in custody.

“I hope she pays for her transgression, her sins. I hope she pays,” Hayes said.

For three long days, Hayes had no idea if he’d ever have closure.

“Today is one of the best days of my life. Thursday was probably the worst day,” Hayes said.

Tonight, he has one type of closure as he sets the urn in a safe spot inside of his home.

“It means everything. Now I can properly take care of my wife’s ashes,” Hayes said.

The other kind of closure will take time, as his number one companion is gone forever.

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