Toyota Tundra Stolen with Ashes of Deceased Brother: Begs for Ashes Back, But Can Keep the Truck

The death of a loved one is a challenging time in one’s life, especially when a person is very close to the deceased. For Andrew Martin, a 51-year-old man from North Carolina, the death of his older brother had another painful element. Someone stole his Toyota Tundra pickup truck, which contained the ashes of his recently deceased brother. In a heartfelt plea, Martin begged for the return of the ashes, while saying that the thief could keep the truck.

Person holding a funeral urn of ashes and another image of a silver 2004 Toyota Tundra
Funeral urn of cremated ashes and a 2004 Toyota Tundra | Chris Hondros/Getty Images; Toyota

Andrew Martin and his older brother, 56-year-old Jerry “J.J.” Martin, were very close. As detailed by the Gaston Gazette, the two brothers lived together at the family homestead in Mount Holly, North Carolina. They combined their incomes “to make ends meet.” However, J.J. sadly died of coronavirus-related (COVID-19) pneumonia on September 30, 2021.

Martin planned to spread the ashes of his brother in the ocean

Sunset over the ocean at Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, near where Andrew Martin planned to scatter his deceased brother’s ashes | Alex Brinkman via Unsplash

Andrew Martin and his family, which includes two older brothers and three sisters, planned to take the ashes of J.J. Martin to the final resting place near Cherry Grove Beach. It’s a neighborhood in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and “one of the favorite spots” of J.J. The Martin family charted a boat to spread the ashes of J.J. in the ocean.

The plan was to do the ceremony for J.J. on February 13. The Martin family would have completed the ceremony sooner, but there was a delay in obtaining a permit. 

Car thief steals 2004 Toyota Tundra with deceased brother’s ashes

Maroon 2004 Toyota Tundra driving on a highway
2004 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

On the morning of January 22, three weeks before the planned ceremony, Andrew started his 2004 Toyota Tundra full-size pickup truck in the driveway of his Mount Holly house. There was snow on the ground, and it was cold outside, so Andrew warmed up the truck. He then went inside the house to grab a bottle of water and some ice. 

Andrew was in the house for only five minutes, but when he returned, the Tundra pickup truck was gone. A car thief stole it. Andrew then “called the Mount Holly Police, and an investigator filed a report.” 

To make matters worse, the truck contained the ashes of his deceased brother. Martin stated that carrying his brother’s ashes “helped with the grieving process.” He said, “My brother loved to go for a ride, and I was chauffeuring my brother around until his final resting place. Now, someone else is riding him around in my stolen truck.”

Martin pleas for the return of his brother’s ashes

While the theft of Martin’s truck is an unfortunate incident, all of his focus was on getting his brother’s ashes back. With a “tear running down his cheek,” he said, “Pickup trucks can be replaced.” He continued, “Maybe someone will see this story and realize how important those ashes are to the family in completing their loved one’s journey.” Martin then suggested possible locations where the car thief could leave his brother’s ashes:

“We’re just praying that whoever did it will do the right thing and just put my brother’s ashes at the front door of a police station or at the library, so we can complete that process. They could leave them at Walmart. I think a Walmart employee would get them back to me because they know it’s the right thing to do.”

– Andrew Martin

As of this writing, there are no reports of the return of the brother’s ashes. Hopefully, whoever stole the Tundra pickup truck does the right thing — and gives the ashes back so that the Martin family can complete the final journey of their brother. 

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