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USPS, Indianapolis man working to find mother’s ashes lost in the mail

It's been two weeks since the remains were set to arrive, with no more tracking updates past the June 30 arrival date.

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man said the United States Postal Service lost his mother’s remains in the mail. He’s been working to find answers. However, with no tracking updates, he and his family are left waiting.

Smith and his brother went to Arizona to take their mom off life support in June. 

With the help of the funeral home, they sent their mom's remains to Indiana, where they were going to spread her ashes.

It's been two weeks since they were set to arrive, with no more tracking updates past the June 30 arrival date.

Their memorial for her is now on hold.

“It's lucky for us that we flew out there for the process because otherwise, there would be absolutely no closure because it seemingly is not going to show up. I mean, it's tough,” Smith said. “Everything that I get told is just that it's under investigation. I've told them that if they can give me the flight information that I would do the work, and they said that they don't have that information, and they're still doing their investigation. So, I’ve hit road blocks and dead ends with every contact.”

Insurance helps protect pieces of mail to a degree, but there are no guarantees.

Credit: Daniel Smith

Smith, who has worked with the Department of Homeland Security for 15 years, did his own research.

“At least be responsible for this because at this point, there's zero responsibility on their end," Smith said. "I looked it up: Legally, they're not able to be sued for the loss of packages, and they lose $9 billion worth of stuff a year, and there’s no recourse."

A USPS spokesperson told 13News there's no additional information at this time.

USPS released this statement: 

The Postal Service strives to provide the best possible service to our customers. In this instance, we first wish to offer our condolences to the family and a sincere apology for the unintended delay in delivering this important package. We are keenly aware of the desire to locate the parcel as soon as possible. We regret that, to date, the package has not been located. We are committed to an ongoing and vigilant search and will continue working with the customer to resolve this matter.

USPS is the only legal delivery method to ship a person's remains.

In the meantime, experts say about 3% of all USPS deliveries are lost. Smith said that accounts for billions of pieces of mail.

Here are the steps to take if you have missing mail.

Smith reached out to Sen. Mike Braun’s office, which is now working with him in hopes of getting this resolved.

   

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