In 2011, six-year-old Ryan Wagner succumbed to the fatal disease of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Ryan’s body was cremated and placed in a safe owned by Ryan’s uncle shortly after. However, just a few weeks ago, the uncle’s house was robbed and the safe was raided, including the urn of Ryan’s ashes.
Ryan’s family of Humboldt County, California created a Facebook page soon after, calling attention to any possible leads to the identity of the thieves who stole the cremated remains.
Then on Friday, January 13, the Wagner family posted this update on their Facebook page:
“On Friday the 13th the sheriffs department received a call from Kathleen Bryson a local criminal defense attorney saying that a client of hers had access to Ryan’s ashes and wanted to split the reward money with the thieves or else the people who had Ryan’s ashes threatened they would dump them.”
We were told to gather the 5,000.00 dollars in small denominations because the individuals were paranoid of $100 dollar bills. We met with Kathleen Bryson who said she just wanted to help the situation and gave us the $500 she was paid by her client and said she was doing this for free.
We handed her 5,000.00 with no real concrete security of knowing she would return with Ryan. We waited 45-minutes for her to return with all of the belongings.
Although we are extremely happy to have Ryan back we are further more disgusted by the criminals behind this for holding Ryan ransom because the reward money basically went to the thieves.
We are still working with authorities and it is our hopes that these criminals can still be brought to justice.”
Bryson stands by her decision in helping the situation, and told reporters that she believes her client had no involvement with the robbery and did not financially profit from the exchange.
“I wouldn’t have represented someone who was sharing in the reward,” Bryson said. “He was motivated because he heard that these people he knew were going to dump the ashes unless they received the reward.”
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