This grieving son has revealed his pain after a backpack containing his recently deceased mother’s ashes which he was waiting to scatter was stolen from a restaurant terrace.
The incident happened as financial consultant Tony Baetens, 25, was having a coffee at the Brasserie Ommegang restaurant in the centre of the Belgian capital Brussels when a thief snuck onto the terrace and swiped his backpack containing the ashes and a laptop.
Baetens told Newsflash that his parents had divorced when he was four years, and he lived with his father until nine years ago when his dad suffered a stroke after two weeks in a coma and died.
Baetens then began living with his mother Charmine Van Tittelboom, 60, who was from India, but she died on 1st June as a result of brain bleeding.
He then kept his mother’s ashes as he was waiting to scatter them in her native India and told Newsflash: “There is always loud live music in the bar. While I was sitting there and ordered a coffee, I received a call from a business partner. I turned my back on the other side because the music was too loud so I could hear him, and somebody took the backpack.
“I started yelling when I noticed my bag was gone and started asking people if they saw something. One older woman said she saw the guy who robbed me, but didn’t react cause she thought he was with me.”
He then went into the bar and watched the CCTV footage, with images showing the thief leaning down to grab his backpack. The police were called and said they would investigate after taking the video evidence but Baetens told Newsflash they did not give him any further details.
He added: “ My mother was from India, and I promised her that one day when she dies, I will take her ashes there. It’s really hard and I am still confused. In the bag there was just part of the ashes.
“Our stepfather is old so my brother, my sister, and I didn’t want to take all the ashes to India, because he would like to go and light a candle and leave flowers for my mum at a place that is near.
“I am still confused and I don’t know what I will do if I don’t find the bag. I am still in shock, maybe my mother’s ashes are in the rubbish. I will have time to think about it in this period.”
Baetens says his mother was a generous woman and revealed she donated her eyes and eight other organs to science, telling Newsflash her eyes “were given to a young girl, so I hope one day I will meet that girl because I want to look into my mother’s eyes again”.
He has posted on Facebook to try to track down the bag and he says many people are now sharing the post to try to help him.
The investigation into the theft is ongoing and no arrests have been reported.
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