Car Towed, Family Ashes Lost

Car was impounded with relatives' ashes inside

By Matt Bartosik
|  Monday, May 24, 2010  |  Updated 7:00 AM CDT
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Most people store a random collection of things in their car: spare change, an extra umbrella, maybe a pair of sunglasses.

But a Wisconsin man lost more than his quarters when his car was towed from behind a Wisconsin diner. He lost the ashes of his father and grandfather.

"My father is passed on and he's been violated and my family's been violated," said Shawn Leslie. "Whether it was an accident or not about the ashes, it was still done. It was a sacrilege against my ancestors, my family."

Leslie, 39, parked his 1994 Mercury Cougar behind a Wausau diner while he was out of town for several months. He says he got permission from the diner's owner.

Inside the car, Leslie kept the ashes of his father and grandfather "for safekeeping," he said.

You know what does an even better job at safekeeping? A safe.

Ray Burris, the property manager, said he never gave Leslie permission to park his car there. After six months, Burris called the police.

The police told Burris to sit tight for a month while they tracked down the car's owner.

But Burris eventually called a tow truck company directly, who hauled away the car and crushed it.

The ashes were thrown away.

Several weeks later, Leslie came home to a missing car and some very bad news.

Leslie is now considering legal action.

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.

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