After 8 years, misplaced urn reunited with family
It was a reunion eight years in the making. Earl Johnson III reclaimed an urn holding the ashes of his father Earl Johnson Jr.
"It's amazing," Johnson said as he received the urn. "It really is. I'm speechless because this was a chapter that was lost and finally we got him back."
It is the end of a mystery Kate Justice has been trying to solve for a long time. She found the urn in a box that didn't belong to her while unpacking from a move to her mother's home in South Dakota back in 2007.
"I contacted the moving company obviously right away and sent pictures of the urn along with it," she said. "Never a peep back from them. Not a thing."
Justice's mother held onto the urn after she moved back to Portland, Ore. The family even called the room where they kept it as "Earl's room."
"I had people say, ‘Why don't you just scatter him at this point or toss it?'" said Justice. "I couldn't do it. If it were my loved one, what would I want? I don't know. It just didn't feel right to me and my family, and we were willing to hold on to him and keep trying to find where he was supposed to be."
Documents inside the box had a Maryland address. After trying several other things, this year, she thought to email us here at FOX 5.
We attempted to track down Johnson's family. There was no forwarding address left at the Hyattsville, Md., home where they had lived.
But within less than 24 hours, a viewer who saw our story and knew Johnson helped us piece it all together.
"I started crying a little bit and got my head together and called [FOX 5]," said Johnson.
Once we put him in contact with Kate, the two have been emailing each other for the past two weeks.
Johnson, who now lives in Texas, traveled to Portland to pick his father up from Kate in person.
He provided us with a photo of his parents.
"My mom and my dad together and we can figure out as a family how to make sure they stay together," said Johnson. "For me, it completes a chapter and starts a new one and I owe it all to you guys for your love."
Johnson's mother passed away a few years ago as well.
When I spoke with him, I asked what he thinks his dad would have to say about all of this. He said he thinks his father would have been pretty upset with him for losing him for all of these years. But clearly, Johnson is very happy to have the urn back.
Also, we would like to thank the viewer who saw our story and reached out to Johnson.