It's been two weeks since John Shaffer received the package at his sister's house in Springfield. But his disappointment over what he found inside is still palpable. "Pops always said he wanted to come home," Shaffer said.
The package was supposed to contain an urn holding some of his late father's remains. The rest are in Florida where he passed away from cancer last year. "His parents are buried up here -- a little cemetery in Bellows Falls -- and he just said it would be good to be taken home. So that's where he'd be close to gram and gramps. That's why I figured I would bring part of him home. At least he is with his parents," Shaffer said.
Shaffer's finance mailed the package from Florida. The Cocoa, Florida resident was already in Vermont. When he received it, he knew immediately something was wrong -- torn edges, crumpled corners and tape covered it. "And to see the box, the condition it was when I got it, I was like kind of freaked out because I'm like, I hope everything is in there. And then when I started digging through and come to find out he is not there, I got emotional -- between getting emotional and getting mad," Shaffer said.
And then confusion. Children's clothes, not in the original shipment, were now inside. Shaffer notified the United States Postal Service immediately. In a statement to Channel 3 News The USPS said: "We have a robust investigation ongoing... This includes action in Vermont, Florida and our Mail Recovery Center where unidentified items that become separated from packaging during mail handling are directed."
Shaffer is waiting on the results of that investigation. In the meantime he's trying to stay positive -- like his mom, who was married to the same man for 42 years. "You know my dad was a traveling man. He was a truck driver for years and he always liked to travel. And mom said, you know, he just out there traveling again. You know, it kind of gave me a little chuckle," Shaffer said.
But he wants the remains back. "It's a small urn -- about 3 inches tall, bluish green with gold -- and it is my dad. I would like to get it back," he said. "My dad was my man -- my number one guy," he said.
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