Child's urn goes missing; search goes viral

A Springfield, Missouri couple is searching for their son's urn, which went missing somewhere between Springfield and Granbury, Texas. 

NORMAN — There’s a missing urn somewhere between Springfield, Missouri and Granbury, Texas and Shawn and Jennifer Kemp are reaching out to anyone and everyone along the 1,000-mile round trip route in hopes of “bringing their son home.”

The couple left Springfield on Thursday morning with their daughter bound for Texas to attend a funeral. They stopped in Tulsa for gas and Norman for lunch. They ate at Taco Bell on 24th Ave. NW and then continued south, stopping in Ardmore before finally reaching their destination. 

Shawn said he’s not sure where their son’s ashes went missing, but when they got home on Saturday they were nowhere to be found.

So, the couple started reaching out to everyone along the route and took to social media to spread the word. About 24 hours after Jennifer’s facebook post, it had been shared over 7,400 times.

“There are people looking in Ardmore, in Norman and Tulsa,” Shawn said. “We’ve had people looking around all of over the place. The broader circle we can get this out to, as many people as we can touch, the better.”

Shawn said their 11-year-old daughter Talyn sleeps with the small metal urn and the family takes Thade with them wherever they go.

“It’s not just an urn,” Jennifer said. “He’s in there. That’s all I have on this Earth of him. We travel with him, we take him with us when we leave the house because you take your kids with you when you leave. So, it’s been pretty rough.”

Thade died shortly after birth, following just 20 weeks of gestation. His urn weighs 10 ounces, like Thade did at birth and at death. The blue, heart-shaped enamel urn is only about three inches across, but Jennifer said it means the world to her and her family. She said losing the urn has been like losing her son all over again.

“Talyn’s been pretty quiet about the whole thing,” Jennifer said. “I haven’t been able to speak about it without getting super emotional. But she brought me a blanket my friend crocheted when he died. She said ‘Here’s his blanket’ and I just started crying.”

Shawn said though the reaction on social media has been largely “miraculous,” he said there have been mocking posts, as well.

“Everybody may laugh, but that is our son,” he said. “We just want him back home. It’s very special to us.”

Anyone who finds the urn or knows of its whereabouts can contact Jennifer at

Mack Burke

follow me @mackburke4

Trending Video

Mack Burke is an investigative reporter and award-winning feature writer and columnist for The Norman Transcript. An OU alumnus, he has lived in Norman since 2003.