Two months after a burglar stole their daughter's ashes, someone placed the urn in its red velvet bag on the steps of a church several miles from Leo and Fredi Brown's home.
"Someone must have had a glimmer of conscience," said Leo Brown.
The urn was placed on the front porch of Community Baptist Church in North Pole on Saturday. Pastor Morrie Fisher found them after arriving to check on a pig roasting for a church barbecue.
The Browns discovered the ashes were missing after returning home from a weekend at their cabin at Quartz Lake in late June. They found that someone had broken in the front door of their home. Gone were Leo's guns, Fredi's jewelry and their daughter Carole's remains.
Carole was the middle daughter of three. She died a month shy of her 41st birthday after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.
The couple figures the weight of the urn and the fact that it was kept in a red velvet bag led the thief to think the ashes were an object with street value.
The Browns were keeping her urn in an upstairs closet until they felt ready to scatter the ashes.
The Browns had almost given up hope when the call came that the ashes had been found.
"I was beginning to wonder," said Fredi Brown, a retired school secretary. "I was hoping we'd get them back, of course, but I was afraid that when the burglars saw what it was, they tossed them."
The ashes were left at the church between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., according to Fisher.
The pastor, along with a couple of church members, arrived at the church during the early morning hours to start roasting the pig. Fisher said he didn't see anything unusual.
The men left for the next few hours. When Fisher returned to check on the pig, he noticed the red velvet bag on the church's front porch.
"I asked (church member Ted Davies) if that was his to take into the church. He said no. He hadn't even seen it. So I grabbed it. I took it downstairs. I put the salad my wife gave me into the refrigerator, and then I opened up this maroon bag and it was nothing to go into the refrigerator."
It was a metallic box with a sticker identifying the contents as the ashes of Carole Rene Brown.
Church member Steve Smith said he remembered hearing about a couple whose daughter's ashes were stolen in a burglary.
"Then it clicked," Fisher said.