HOUSTON - A woman claims several personal items were stolen from her late father’s mausoleum niche.
“I was daddy’s girl, he was my life, he was my everything,” said Maddie Brown.
She wanted a tranquil, peaceful, and safe final resting place for her 84 year-old father, Umberto Vallejo. He passed away earlier this year.
Brown thought she’d found a perfect place at Forest Park Westheimer, until this past Sunday.
“I feel violated, like someone violated my father,” said Brown.
Brown says someone stole several personal items placed inside a mausoleum niche which includes an urn containing her father’s ashes.
“And I said where’s his watch?” said Brown. “Where’s his rosary, where’s his crucifix, where’s the keychain I gave him?”
Brown believes someone unscrewed the glass cover to the niche, which Houston Police officers removed in order to dust for fingerprints.
“I’m not saying the watch astronomically valuable but it was to me and it was to him,” said Brown. “Because it was the watch that he never took off.”
The cemetery told us it is cooperating with HPD in the investigation.
“I think the individual is a very sick person to go into a place where someone has been laid to test and take their personal belongings,” said Brown.
Brown says her mother may be the most upset. First, she lost her husband of 58 years and now his cherished mementos as well.
Brown says the mausoleum is open to the public most of the day. She thinks there should be controlled access for families and surveillance cameras.
Here’s a full statement from Forest Park Westheimer:
We certainly empathize with grieving families who wish to add personal items to the final resting place of their loved ones. We care deeply for our families and strive to provide them with a peaceful and beautiful environment in which to remember their loved ones. We do take the safety and security of our park very seriously, however, cemeteries, by their nature, are open to the public. We are currently cooperating with the Houston Police Department to assist in the investigation. We encourage all of our client families to let us know about any issues or concerns, so we may address them immediately.