While the loss of a child is difficult for any parent, a Missouri man's heartbreak was recently doubled when his murdered son's remains were lost by the U.S. Postal Service.
"They don't know where my son is," Randy Lindsay told The Huffington Post on Friday. "Why can't they find one box?"
Lindsay's son, 23-year-old Joshua William Lindsay, was shot and killed on Feb. 22 in Saluda, N.C., a small city located about 90 miles west of Charlotte. The victim's friend, Brandon Cody-Lee Case, 23, of Saluda has been charged with first-degree murder in the case. A motive remains unclear. Lindsay left behind a 10-month-old son.
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In June, Lindsay's father went to stay with his sister in Forney, Texas. He is a native of Texas, and his son was born and raised in Dallas. Both father and son maintained a love for their home state and during his stay, Randy Lindsay decided it would be a good place to spread his son's ashes.
"We had lived in Dallas until 1997, when I took my family away from Houston because of all the crime and drugs, and moved to what I considered paradise in North Carolina," Lindsay explained. "My son was an avid fan of University of Texas football and the Dallas Cowboys, so I wanted to see if I could get his ashes scattered on the 50-yard line at both stadiums. That way family and friends watching would know he is there with them."
Lindsay called a relative and on July 5 his son's ashes were boxed up and mailed from Cape Girardeau, Mo., to Forney, Texas. The box never arrived.
"The local office said there was nothing they could do," Lindsay said. "They gave me a number for consumer affairs and I got nowhere with them."
On July 25, the U.S. Postal Service notified Lindsay that it had found the address label that belonged on the package containing his son's remains, but not the box containing them. Exasperated, Lindsay contacted Dallas' WFAA-TV and explained what had happened.
The Postal Service issued a statement to WFAA, promising to offer Lindsay "daily updates" and offered an apology to the family. However, despite increased efforts, the box remains missing.
"They told me today that they still haven't located them," Lindsay said. "They said there is a mail recovery center in Atlanta, Georgia, and that is where packages like this are supposed to go. But despite days of searching in Atlanta they haven't turned up anything. So now they have basically issued an APB to search every postal location. They said it could be on a piece of equipment, on the back of a truck -- anywhere."
The ashes were mailed in a light green shoebox that was wrapped in brown shipping paper and sealed with masking tape. Inside the shoe box is a white cardboard box that is 4 inches wide, 4 inches tall and 6 inches long.
"The post office said that in the future I should put an address inside the box. Well if you can’t find the box, how you gonna find the address that's inside? In hindsight, it's nice advice but there is a label on top of the white box that says, 'This box contains the cremated remains of Joshua William Lindsay' so it's not like it's void of any description," Lindsay said.
The grieving father said all he can do is wait and hope that someone, somewhere will find his sons remains and return. "I just sit around and stare at the wall. What else can I do," he said. "It's been a month. Why can't they find him? Why can't they find my son?"