Mt Gravatt Widow Reunited with Husband’s Ashes After Heartless Theft

Nada French, an elderly Mt Gravatt widow, faced the unimaginable when thieves broke into her home. Utilising a crowbar to gain access, the culprits not only took valuable items including her engagement and eternity rings, but also a blue plastic container holding a priceless treasure: the ashes of her late husband, Neal French.

Mrs French, 87, had hoped to be interred alongside her husband of 60 years in the family plot at Nudgee Cemetery. Her daughter, Joan Hyams, expressed the family’s profound distress, likening the theft to “losing dad twice,” as Mr French’s memory was profoundly cherished by the family since his passing in 2016.

A Community’s Response and a Sudden Turn

In response to this despicable act, the family issued a public plea, which was amplified by local media coverage. The family’s appeal and the subsequent media attention resulted in a surprising turn of events.

Miraculously, Neal’s ashes were found abandoned on the steps of the Anglican Church of the Annunciation in Camp Hill. A member of the church’s gardening club, upon recognizing the significance of the container from the news, played a crucial role in their safe return. The police promptly returned the ashes to Mrs French, who was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude.

The return of the ashes brought immense solace to the family. Ms Hyams expressed her joy, stating that her father was back, “where he belongs.” 

Mt Gravatt Widow
Photo Credit: A Current Affair/YouTube

The fact that the ashes were found at a church resonated deeply with the family, considering Mr French’s devout faith. The family’s ordeal, whilst harrowing, ended with a sense of peace and closure, as they could once again fulfil Mr French’s wish to be laid to rest alongside his beloved wife.

The Aftermath and Security Concerns

Despite the happy conclusion, the theft incident, which happened on 9 Nov 2023, left a lasting impact on the Mt Gravatt widow. The burglary, occurring in broad daylight, shattered her sense of security. The family is now considering measures to enhance the security of their home, with Mrs French’s son taking an active role in this endeavour.

The incident has highlighted the importance of community vigilance and support. The family expressed their heartfelt thanks to the police and the church community for their roles in the return of their beloved’s ashes.

Meanwhile, the police are appealing for information regarding the theft. Send a tip to Policelink. 

Published 15-Nov-2023