"[It's] like she's already gone and they just took a little bit more. It sucks that those people exist," the father said.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 11, 2021. It has since been updated.
Patrick Sanabria and his wife were hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains on November 2, 2021, near the North Carolina border. The two started hiking around a little past eight in the morning, and they were done by 12, noon. When they returned to the place where they'd parked Sanabria's White 1997 Ford Ranger, they did not find it. It had been stolen from the spot, according to local CBS affiliate WVLT. “Had a cup of coffee, hiked back down. When we got back to the trailhead, the truck was gone,” he said.
While he's upset over the fact that someone stole his car, what broke him is that along with the car, a piece of his daughter is also now missing. You see, Sanabria kept a locket containing his 1-year-old daughter's ashes in the car, which he hung from the rearview mirror, per PEOPLE.
His daughter, Odette, was only a year old, and died the day after her first birthday, in May 2021. "We gave her a bath one night and laid her down," Sanabria told ABC affiliate WATE. "When we come back in to check on her, she was gone."
Tennessee Man Searching for Stolen Car with Daughter's Ashes Inside: 'Lost Her All Over Again' https://t.co/LOe2PDf74R— People (@people) November 8, 2021
"I got maybe five minutes of walking in and realized what I'd left on the rearview mirror there and just broke down there in the middle of the gravel road. It's like I lost her all over again," Sanabria said.
After his daughter's death, he'd put some of his daughter's ashes inside a pendant, which is now missing along with his car. Losing a piece of Odette is now making him yearn for her presence. “Kind of like I guess like a guardian angel type of thing,” Sanabria said. “I’m always in my car. Always in my truck running around. I can look at it every day.”
"Even that little pendant, that little piece, like I said it's like losing her all over again," Sanabria said. "Like she's already gone and they just took a little bit more. It sucks that those people exist."
Omg , That is heartbreaking! I pray that who ever took the car or who ever ends up with it at least has the decency to drop her ashes off at a funeral home or hospital ( seeing as they probably won’t want to step foot inside a police station! So sad.— Marie Wheatley (@MarieWheatley1) November 8, 2021
He just can't bring himself to believe that people don't care about anyone else. "It's crazy. It blows my mind."
However, he doesn't care if he gets his car back, which he described as a "97 Ford ranger, five-speed, hole in the tailgate, not a bad truck but not a truck you would think someone would steal" — as he is about tracking down the necklace.
Meanwhile, The Great Smoky Mountain National Park issued the following statement about thefts in the park when reached for comment.
“While infrequent, property crime does occur within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. U.S. Park Rangers are trained to investigate and prosecute property crime offenses that occur in the park and actively patrol parking areas as a deterrent. However, we encourage our visitors to take precautions by not leaving valuables unattended while enjoying the park, especially on park trailheads."
"You can help Rangers fight property crime by reporting suspicious activity by calling 865-436-9171,” said Acting Chief Ranger Jeff Glossop.
Cover Image Source: YouTube | WATE 6 On Your Side (Sevierville man's truck, daughter's ashes stolen)