Kayla Goding of Indianapolis, like many mothers, is fiercely protective of her children.
So when a very important keepsake of hers commemorating the short but precious life of her son Kayden was stolen, she wouldn't rest until it was found again.
It happened when Goding was working at Dollar General on April 22. Someone sneaked into the break room and took her wallet.
The money and cards she lost in the wallet were heartbreaking enough, but along with those items was a pendant containing the ashes of her son Kayden. It had been on a chain, but the chain broke, so she tucked the charm into her wallet for safekeeping.
"Kayden was born at 13 weeks and two days," Goding told WRTV. "There were complications from the pregnancy, and I had to deliver him early. I only spent an hour with him and did not want to let him go, but I had to. The ashes remind me of that time I had with him."
Security camera footage caught a glimpse of the thief, but not well enough to identify him. Goding filed a report with police and then took to social media to make her plea.
"My purse is found," she wrote on April 23. "But my wallet is not and the f----d up part is my wallet had my son's ashes in the front pocket so I knew wherever I went he was there.
"SO IF YOU HAVE MY WALLET KEEP THE OTHER NONE IMPORTANT THINGS, I JUST WANT MY SONS ASHES! His ashes are in angel wings, on the back of one of the wings is his initials K.A.G.
"Please I need it back, I only had it in my wallet because my chain broke!"
For Goding, losing the charm was like losing her baby all over again.
"It felt like that," she told WTHR. "I felt like I was reliving the whole nightmare that I had before.
"Just to give me back my child. That was it. The audacity of you stealing from a grieving mother who's also a mother to a living child -- you gotta be really heartless to do that. Very heartless."
Whether or not the thief realized the sentimental value of what he'd stolen, within a week, Goding got an unexpected message through Facebook.
"I just got a random message request telling me ... hey, 'You need to go check your mailbox babe,'" Goding said. "And I'm like, 'Huh?' I opened the it, and right here, laying in it was the chain, and then I turned it around to make sure it was his initials, KAG. And I just ran inside crying to my mom and put it, and put it up because I didn't want nothing else to happen to it. Didn't want to lose it."
The chain was a new addition, suggesting that perhaps the person returning the charm was trying to right part of the wrong that had been committed, though Goding has her own theory as to how it made its way back to her.
"To me, it wasn't him that brought it back, it was his ex-girlfriend," she said. "So she had the heart to bring it back to me. She could be a mom. She could be a sister. She could have lost a loved one and understand the pain I was going through."
While she'd obviously like her money back, too, for now the most important piece has been returned.
"When this got stolen, part of my heart also got stolen... and now I feel like I got my child back," she said.
"He's home. He's with me. He's with mommy. And that's all that matters to me."
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.