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“It’s unsettling, to say the least,” Dane Weller told Yahoo! Shine when reached at home in Overland Park, where he now lives with just his father, Don.
Weller, who had become particularly close with his late mother, Vicki, and moved back in with his parents after a spinal cord injury left him temporarily paralyzed several years ago, had made a promise to her shortly before she died: He would honor her request to make sure his niece, Vicki’s first-born granddaughter Jenni, 34, received the gold wedding band upon her death.
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“That was the last thing she said to me—‘I would like Jenni to have the ring’,” Dane said. “That was the only thing she asked me to do for her.”
But now he can’t do it, as the ring, purchased “54 years ago at a place called Jim’s, I think, in Kansas City,” Don recalled for Shine, has vanished.
She had it on her finger when she died, he said, adding that, shortly before, “I remember looking at it there on her left hand, which was very swollen, and I thought to myself, that’s going to be a problem, getting that off.”
But somebody managed to do it, because when Dane went to pick up his mother’s ashes and belongings from the Cremation Society of Kansas on April 19th, he was told that there had not been a band on her finger when she was transferred from Saint Luke’s South Hospital. That’s when Dane decided to file a police report and also speak with hospital officials, who checked documents to find that no jewelry had been listed during post-death inventory by staffers.
The hospital, Dane said, has been “cooperative and apologetic,” assigning his family a patient advocate over the weekend. But, as of Wednesday, he said, “We have not heard from our patient advocate.”
Saint Luke’s South did not return a phone call from Yahoo! Shine seeking comment. But it released the following statement to local news station KCTV: “Saint Luke’s hospitals have procedures in place to minimize the loss of patient personal items while hospitalized. We are in the process of researching the events surrounding the missing item in question and are in communication with the family as we work to find answers and resolve the matter.”
Dane, a former restaurant manager, said he suffered an “incomplete sever” of his spinal cord several years ago in a freak household accident, when, already on shaky ground because of a metal rod in his back from a previous injury, he stepped over a cat on his stairs and was sent tumbling.
“My mom stayed by my side at the hospital for two weeks,” he said, explaining that, when doctors told them Dane would likely never walk again, his mother became a fierce supporter, rallying for him until he did indeed walk. “She was really good to me and we were really close,” he added. “If it weren’t for her love and support, I don’t know how I would have kept going.”
In return, when Vicki began suffering from kidney failure shortly thereafter, Dane was dedicated to preparing her meals and driving her to dialysis treatments. And when she died, at 74, he was certain he’d be able to carry out her last request.
“It’s not the value of the ring, it’s giving it to Jenni,” Dane said. “They were real close, too.”