Theft of daughter's ashes 'like losing her all over again,' Biloxi mother says

 Tonya Schloss in a selfie before her death in 2012.
COURTESY LORIE MARTINEZ Tonya Schloss in a selfie before her death in 2012.

BILOXI -- Lorie Martinez says she doesn't care about the televisions and other items taken from her house in a recent burglary.

She wants her daughter back.

A burglar last weekend stole an urn box containing the ashes of her daughter, Tonya Schloss, who was 25 when she died nearly four years ago.

"The other things taken, they're replaceable," Martinez said. "I just want my daughter back. I had her cremated because I wanted her with me. That was the only way I could bring her home with me.

"It's like losing her all over again."

Martinez, who is raising one of Schloss' children, had moved to Nixon Street less than a month ago. The rental house is next door to a church.

She started moving out Sunday night after she returned home from an overnight trip and found it had been broken into and her most sentimental possession was gone.

"They walked out the back door like they owned the place," Martinez said.

She called Biloxi police and reported she'd been gone from 8 p.m. Saturday until about 5 p.m. Sunday.

"Usually, if I go out of town, I bring her (the urn) to a friend's house," she said.

But her husband had just had back surgery and her son had been in a motorcycle accident. She didn't think about taking the urn to her friend's house.

Two TVs, a DVD player and household items also were stolen.

No questions asked

"All I care about is my daughter," she said. "I keep hoping and praying whoever took it will bring it back, just leave it on the doorsteps, no questions asked. And if police want to do something about it, they can do their thing.

"I just hope they haven't done anything with the ashes."

Martinez said she and her family were packing to move after the burglary when her 9-year-old granddaughter noticed the urn was missing.

"She said, 'Where's Mama?' Now how do I tell her daughter what happened to her mama?

"I don't understand who could be so evil."

Whoever took the urn -- a dark, slender box -- pulled off the glass that held a picture of Schloss and left the glass and picture behind.

"They had to know there was a body in there," she said. "The picture had the date she passed, the date she was born."

Losing a loved one

Martinez said it was hard enough to lose her daughter when she died. Schloss had committed suicide.

"It never gets any easier," Martinez said.

"I've lost my father, I've lost my grandparents, I've lost a husband of 20 years, and it never hurt like this."

Schloss was a D'Iberville High graduate and a stay-at-home mom. Her children -- a girl and two boys -- were 4 months old and 2 and 5 years old when she died.

Martinez is raising one of the boys. Her son is raising Schloss' daughter. The other son lives in Florida with his father.

Martinez said she hasn't slept in the house since the burglary.

"I have moved out of the house for my grandson's safety," she said. "I'm staying with my son, so we are together with two of the children."

Martinez started a new job Thursday at the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D'Iberville.

But she plans to keep driving by her former house.

"I keep praying I see the urn on my doorstep," she said.

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