Stolen plant containing North Port man's ashes returned

- UPDATE: North Port police said the plant was returned. No other details were provided.

Jessica Palmer wants her potted Magnolia tree back. 

"It's priceless, it's so important," she told FOX 13 over the phone from Tennessee. 

The tree's roots are mixed with a portion of her late husband Robert's ashes. She and her daughter had plans to plant the tree at a new home to mark a new beginning. 

"It's literally the little piece that we have left of him," Palmer said. 

The tree is gone.  Palmer and her daughter are crushed. 

"We planned on having that tree grow big and strong here to protect us and be with us so that if we wanted to hug on that tree and love on her daddy, then we could," she said. 

Robert passed away in June, two months after being diagnosed with cancer.  

The tree had been used during their marriage ceremony. 

The plant was outside near a bench.  Her dad was coming to pick it up and help her move, but by the time he got there, the plant had vanished.

"The plant was sitting right there, and it was there Friday during the day and it disappeared during the night on Friday night," said Michelle Cook, a neighbor. 

Cook and her husband have been on the lookout. 

"Everybody freaked out. Right away posted it to Facebook. Put it on every group we could think of," she said. 

Someone recently left a new tree outside the home where Jessica and Robert lived.  She's not convinced it's the same tree. 

From her heart, Palmer pleads with whoever took it, to return the last memory of her husband. 

"I hope that they have it in their heart to return it and understand that this was not just some plant or not something that they stole," said Palmer. 

The North Port Police Department took a report on the stolen tree.  They ask if anyone has information on case# 2018-07-0009 to call them at 941-429-7300.

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