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Man finds missing ashes of woman at Las Vegas bus stop

The Ohio brothers who lost their mother’s ashes on the Strip last week hours before their departure will soon book another flight to Las Vegas.

And when Dan and Colten Dalton get here, they don’t plan to make any detours on their way to pick up the ashes, which were found Tuesday.

The brothers were in Las Vegas last week with their grandmother to pick up Terra Dalton’s ashes. She died Jan. 10 while on vacation. When their stay at the Flamingo ended Jan. 28, the family members had several hours to spend before their flight home.

Not wanting to haul their luggage around the Strip while they waited, they left their bags, including Terra Dalton’s ashes, with the bell desk. Somewhere on the Strip, Colten Dalton lost the baggage tag. When they arrived at the bell desk hours later, the luggage and ashes were missing.

On Tuesday morning, Eric Maxwell, a boutique shop owner in Las Vegas from Oregon, discovered the ashes sitting on a bus stop bench.

Maxwell said he normally takes an Uber from his hotel to The Venetian. He comes to Las Vegas twice a year to buy clothes for his shop in Medford, Oregon. On Tuesday morning, he decided to walk to the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

“Needed the exercise anyway,” Maxwell, 46, said, “getting old.”

As he approached a bus stop near Koval Lane and Winnick Avenue, something caught his eye. On the bench was a black box next to a bag of what looked like sand.

“As I looked closer, it had a name on it,” Maxwell said.

It was the ashes of “Terra Dalton.” No other luggage.

He called the Metropolitan Police Department and reported what he found. Not thinking much of it – “Lots of things happen in Vegas,” he said – Maxwell continued to the convention.

Only when he arrived at his destination and searched Google for the name he found did he realize what he’d stumbled upon. He read news stories about the missing ashes. The Daltons’ misfortune made news in Vegas and beyond.

“I quickly put my stuff in my bag and ran back there, because I didn’t want to leave her alone,” Maxwell said.

After police took custody of the ashes, Maxwell turned his focus to finding the two brothers. He searched on Facebook and by mid-morning was in touch with Dan Dalton’s mother-in-law.

Dan received the call while he was at work.

“Don’t be messing with me, please,” he said to himself.

For the family, relief had already set in by Tuesday evening, but Dan said the anxiety was not over yet.

“I’ll be 100 percent relieved once we have her again,” he said.

When they make that return trip to Las Vegas to collect Terra’s ashes will depend on what police instruct them to do.

Dan Dalton said Tuesday afternoon that he was still trying to get in touch with officers after they had called his brother earlier in the day.

The brothers will fly back as soon as police are ready for them.

“This time we’re just picking her straight up and bringing her straight here,” Dan Dalton said.

They have the most precious item, but the family is still missing most of their luggage.

Security personnel told police that camera footage picked up a couple collecting the Daltons’ luggage from the bell desk Jan. 28, according to the initial police report.

Dan said there has been no real update since last week on the whereabouts of their luggage. Caesers Entertainment, which owns the Flamingo, released a statement to news outlets as the Daltons’ story began to circulate.

“We are aware of this guest’s claim,” the statement read. “Another individual presented this guest’s baggage claim tag to Flamingo staff and was given the luggage. The guest has filed a claim with Las Vegas Metro, and we are working with them to recover the guest’s belongings.”

The company did not answer a question about its policies to ensure baggage mix-ups do not occur. The Daltons criticized the bell desk for not checking the identification of the pair who picked up their luggage.

Maxwell, who will leave Las Vegas on Thursday, said the family doesn’t need to thank him for reporting the ashes to police.

“I would hope that anybody else would do to the same thing I did,” he said. “I don’t think I did anything out of the ordinary or anything special.”

Contact Dalton LaFerney at dlaferney@reviewjournal.com or at 702-383-0288. Follow @daltonlaferney on Twitter.

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