MOILIILI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A photograph of Elaine Takano's late husband Noboru used to sit beside the funeral urn that held his ashes. But someone stole that urn, leaving an empty space in Elaine's home and heart.
"It hurts. Usually, I have it here," she said, pointing to a spot on a shelf. "Before I sleep, I say, 'I'm going to sleep. Protect me.'"
Elaine said the crime happened some time between mid-December and Tuesday, while she was on vacation.
"When I came in, the backdoor of the garage was unlocked," she said.
The thief climbed through a back window, opened the door, and went through everything.
"Maybe he was looking for money. I don't leave any money. No," the 90-year-old said.
Police dusted for fingerprints. The only item missing was Noboru's urn.
"There's always the concern that someone will break into your house. But you would never think that someone would take something personal like an urn. Someone's ashes. That's sacred," Elaine's daughter, Colleen Tanaka, said.
"What do they do anyway with that thing? It's so despicable," Elaine said.
She lives on a main street and a busy corner in Moiliili. It's the house where the Takano's raised their children. Noboru was a commercial fisherman. Elaine worked for the Ilikai. They were married for 64 years.
When Noboru died and was cremated, Elaine kept his ashes.
"We thought we'd leave him home for awhile. Then we'd put him in a niche in Hawaiian Memorial. I have a niche there. But then, look what happened?" she said.
Death separated Elaine from her husband in 2010. Now a thief has done it to her again.