GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A treasured family heirloom went missing from a Grand Rapids woman after she died of cancer.
Her family says Janice Thielke, 69, was wearing the diamond necklace when she was taken to the crematory.
"From when she got picked up and took there, it's gone," her son Jon Reedy said.
The funeral director at Memorial Alternatives says they don't know what happened to the necklace, but claims they don't have it and never did.
Thielke fought cancer for more than 20 years. She lost the battle last week.
"She looked at me and said, 'It's time to go.' And I said, 'If you need to go. If you need to,'" widower Robert Thielke said.
Since January, Thielke's health declined swiftly since January, her family says. So her son Jon took diamonds from her mother's wedding bands and made a cross necklace.
"It turned out beautiful. I got 'Grandma T' engraved on the back of it," Reedy said.
Her family said Thielke never took it off. They can only think of one time when it was removed -- during a bone scan. Even then, she insisted the nurse hold it next to her.
"I know it was on her because it was her pride and joy," Janice's husband, Robert Thielke said.
When she passed away, her body was taken from their home to Memorial Alternatives on Fuller Avenue.
"I called him and I said to him, 'Make sure you take her jewelry off and put it away because it's a family heirloom and I want it back.' He said he would do it," Thielke said.
But when they went to pick up her ashes Friday, there was no necklace.
"There was no jewelry on her whatsoever. I check several times," Memorial Alternatives Manager Mark Petricevic said. "Paramedics were working on her prior to us picking her up at her home, so I'm guessing as the paramedics were struggling to save her life that the jewelry was taken off of her."
Memorial Alternatives does not have any complaints lodged with the Better Business Bureau.
We also checked court records and found no lawsuits against the owner or company.
Reedy said he's not accusing anyone.
"I just want somebody to see it and return," he said. "To lose those, I just feel like I let my mom down. I just would like them to come back to my family."
He said the necklace was meant to be passed on through the family.
"My daughter is going to be two here soon and my mom, that was her only wish is for this necklace to go back to her," he said.
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