Colorado

Jan 20, 2011 9:59 PM by Zach Thaxton

Affidavit: suspected urn thief admits to separate burglary

A Colorado Springs man suspected of involvement in the theft of an urn containing the ashes of the late wife of a Black Forest man told investigators he broke into a neighboring home the same day, according to an arrest affidavit.

Jeremy Farr, 23, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at a residence on the 800 block of Hathaway Drive.  It was the culmination of an investigation into a string of burglaries on Sunday, January 9 in the area of Delwood Drive in Black Forest.  Numerous stolen items were recovered during the arrest and subsequent investigation, but the urn containing the ashes of Bob Herrle's wife Terry was not among them.

Farr is accused of participating in a burglary at Herrle's home while Herrle was at church the morning of Sunday, January 9.  Numerous electronics and other items were stolen.  Also stolen was a mohogany box containing the ashes of Herrle's wife Terry, who died New Year's Day 2009 after battling ovarian cancer.  Herrle suspects the thieves mistook the urn for a jewelry box and that they had no intention of stealing human cremains.  "That's akin to robbing a grave," Herrle said Thursday.  "You don't take somebody's ashes."

The same morning, the nearby home of Larry and Deborah Bowin was robbed.  Numerous electronics, credit cards, files of banking information, and pieces of jewelry were stolen.  The thief also stole several rifles from a gun case.  Thursday morning, the Bowins revealed that Farr is a nephew whom they have not seen in 6 or 7 years.

"I've had no contact with him at all and I'm kind of shocked that he could even find his way out here or knew where we were at," said Larry Bowin.  "He may have just been waiting for us to leave."

Farr was identified in a photo lineup by the Bowins' step-daughter, who encountered the intruder on a staircase after investigating loud noises coming from upstairs.

Although Farr has not been directly implicated in the theft of Herrle's urn, the Bowins believe he is responsible.  Deb Bowin, saying she is embarrassed that a family member would steal someone's cremated remains, called Herrle Thursday morning to notify him of their nephew's suspected involvement.

"I did call Bob and apologized and told him that I felt really, really bad and that we would do everything possible to help him get Terry's ashes back," Deb said.  "He was very gracious and said that he didn't have any animosity, that it wasn't our fault, and I really appreciate that."

Herrle said he felt sorry for the Bowins.  "Deb was very shaken up," he said.  "She was very apologetic.  But it was the thief that stole [the urn], not her."

Larry Bowin hopes his nephew cooperates with investigators.  "We're hoping that Jeremy is going to tell them what he did with [the ashes]," he said.  "Good, bad, or indifferent, Bob needs to know."

Herrle agrees:  "I would just like them to tell us what they did with the ashes.  Just help us find the ashes."

Farr was booked on $50,000 bond into the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center.  He is charged with multiple felonies, including counts of burglary, motor vehicle theft, possession of weapons by a previous offender, and identity theft.  The arrest affidavit reveals that Farr admitted to the burglary at the Bowin residence, saying he stole, then sold, some of the guns and rifles from the home to help fund a drug habit.

The story of the stolen ashes has received international news attention.  Herrle says he received word that his story was aired recently in The Netherlands.  "I am really overwhelmed by all of this," Herrle said.  "I can't think of a better way to get the word out, and we certainly got the word out.  I thank everyone out there."

The Bowins say they'll do whatever they can to secure the return of Terry Herrle's ashes.  "We're not done yet," said Deb Bowin.  "We're going to keep looking for Terry."

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