Thief steals Christmas presents, mother's ashes from TR woman in - FOX Carolina 21

Thief steals Christmas presents, mother's ashes from TR woman in Grinch-like burglary

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Howard and her mother, Phyllis Flanagan, shortly before Flanagan passed away. (Courtesy: Tracy Howard) Howard and her mother, Phyllis Flanagan, shortly before Flanagan passed away. (Courtesy: Tracy Howard)
Howard says someone broke into her home and stole all her family's Christmas presents, as well as her late mother's ashes (Courtesy: Tracy Howard) Howard says someone broke into her home and stole all her family's Christmas presents, as well as her late mother's ashes (Courtesy: Tracy Howard)
TRAVELERS REST, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A real-life Grinch stole an Upstate family's entire Christmas, but that's not all the thief took. 

When Travelers Rest resident Tracy Howard returned home from work Tuesday, she was startled to find her door wide open. When she went inside, she made a shocking discovery.

"I heard my dog crying. I turned around and noticed my TV was gone and there were no presents under the Christmas tree. Then, I went into my bedroom and everything in my bedroom drawers was ... dumped out," said Howard. 

The presents were gifts for her sons, her sister, her great-nephew and her grandchildren, Howard said. 

Nothing could have prepared her for what she found missing next. 

"I walked into my closet... and the box was gone," said Howard, referring to the box where her mother's ashes had been stored. 

Howard's mother, Phyllis Flanagan, died Dec. 15 of last year after a long battle with an auto-immune disease. Howard had been keeping her ashes in one of the boxes stolen. 

"I hit my knees, grabbed my dog, and I just cried and cried and cried," she said. 

Howard called TR Police who are investigating the incident. A police report documents two TVs, jewelry, medication and Christmas presents were taken from the home. It wasn't until later that night, said Howard, that she discovered the ashes missing.

She said the presents are replaceable, but her mother is not. 

"The last thing I could think about would be my mother ... just thrown somewhere," said Howard. "I can't go to a cemetery and speak to her at her gravesite, those ashes were everything."

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