Woman's last-ditch effort to find father's ashes after mixup

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on April 25, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 25 at 5:50 PM

Christina McCarthy moved to the Puget Sound for a fresh start. Last week, she packed her bags, put her valuables in a carry-on and got on a plane. And like so many of us, she put the bag in the plane's overhead compartment.

But in this case, she never saw it again.

Inside McCarthy's carry-on was something so precious, she's having a hard time carrying on without it.

McCarthy's father passed away four years ago. She's kept his ashes nearby ever since.

"It comforts me," she said. "I battle with depression. Instead of taking all kinds of meds and going to therapy, my dad was my therapy."

She packed those ashes in a wooden box, placed them in her carry-on, along with her other valuables.

"My purse, my wallet, my tax return stub and all the cash from my tax return," she said.

She carried it all with her onto American Airlines flight 125 on April 17, from Chicago to Seattle.

When the flight landed, she thinks someone grabbed her bag out of the overhead compartment by accident.

"I looked at the flight attendant and said 'A passenger just took my bag. My father is inside that bag!' The pilot says 'Oh no.' And the flight attendant says 'There's nothing I can do... Go get them,'" she said.

A frantic search through the terminal, and a page over the public announcement system turned up no suitcase, and no answers.

She filed a claim with the airline, a police report with the Port of Seattle, and looked through the lost and found.

An American Airlines spokesperson says because the bag wasn't checked or scanned, there is little they can do to track it. They did check to see if another bag was left behind on that plane and so far have come up with nothing.

Turning to a TV station for help, is her last hope.

"I have no money, no home, and now I don't even have my father," said McCarthy. "I would prefer to live in a cardboard box with my dad's ashes then not have him."

McCarthy is hoping the person who ended up with her bag will hear about her story and return her father's ashes.

Her email is chantzchris@hotmail.com.

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