NBC10 Responds

Post Office Can't Find Mother's Missing Remains

So her grieving daughter turned to NBC10 Responds for help

NBC Universal, Inc.

NBC10 Responds viewers have reached out to us about recent problems with the Post Office.

But one woman’s story is especially heartbreaking.

She said the post office lost something precious that she’ll never be able to replace—her mother’s ashes.

“It was enough to lose my mom, but not to have her ashes. It’s a hard pill to swallow," Joanne DeGaetano of Bensalem told NBC10 Responds.

By the time DeGaetano reached out to us, she’d been on quest to find the ashes for weeks.

Her mother, Ruth, died of COVID-19 at a nursing home in New Jersey in December. According to DeGaetano—the remains were shipped via USPS December 28 and she should have received them the next day.

She hoped to have her mom in a special urn she purchased to mark what would have been Ruth’s 90th birthday in mid-January.

But that didn’t happen.

"I Should Have Had Her Long By Now"

“Just all of a sudden I went okay— something is not right— I should have had her long by now,” DeGaetano said.

She said she called various post offices in North Jersey. The funeral director emailed the Post Office complaints department.

No one could locate the remains.

Joanne decided to reach out to NBC10 Responds. We contacted the post office and asked what was being done to locate the package.

In a "Black Hole"

According to DeGaetano, someone from the Post Office called her for the first time after NBC10 Responds got involved.

“At one point what she said to me was that--  it appears your mothers package has gone into a black hole.”

NBC10 Responds continued to reach out to the Post Office—asking what was being done to find the remains.

USPS did not explain what went wrong.

A Special Homecoming

Two weeks later, DeGaetano got a call from the Post Office—the package was on the way.

She rushed home from work to meet the Bensalem Postmaster, who drove the box to her house in his own car.

“We are very pleased that we were able to deliver the remains to the rightful owner and again sincerely apologize for the delay. Thanks again to all for your assistance," a Post Office spokesperson said.

DeGaetano, teary-eyed, thanked NBC10 Responds for shining a spotlight on this problem.

“A lot of emotions today," she said. "Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

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