IRVINGTON, Ala. (WKRG) — After a Baldwin County family had their trailer stolen from their home with their deceased loved one’s belongings in January, they were pleading for the community to help them find it, hopefully in the condition it was left in.
The trailer was found Tuesday burned so badly it was unrecognizable. Now, law enforcement agencies on both sides of the bay are investigating it as a criminal case.
The Hayes’ family first reported their trailer stolen January 13, asking for anyone to come forward if they know anything of its whereabouts. The trailer had clothes, books and items of sentimental value belonging to Stephen Hayes who passed away last April.
The trailer was found in the back of a home on Rollie Tillman’s Road in Irvington. Bayou La Batre Police tell WKRG News 5 they are investigating the fire. The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office and Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office are also assisting in the investigation.
On the property, there was a home and another camper right by the burned trailer. WKRG News 5 spoke with the residents who live on the property who wished to not go on camera, but they tell us they had no idea the trailer was stolen.
Bayou La Batre Police say they responded to the fire around noon on Tuesday March 28. One person had to be hospitalized and residents say they heard pops and saw the trailer on fire.
Stephen’s family later arrived to the home seeing the destroyed trailer.
“There’s no words I can put on it,” said Stephen’s sister-in-law Tanya Hayes, “It’s very heartbreaking knowing that in three weeks is a year of Stephen’s passing. All of these things are all inside there. Just to get a phone call this morning that they found it, it was in pristine condition. We’re fixing to come get it. We were making plans to come get it later this week. And then an hour later, it’s up in flames.”
She and Stephen’s brother, Shane, were able to collect a few baseball cards from the rubble and debris, which was one of the few things he loved. They say they don’t care about the camper itself, but more of Stephen’s belongings, which are now destroyed.
Now, the family hopes whoever set the trailer on fire faces consequences.
“We want the person held accountable for who ever took it, and then for the destruction that caused our family a two and a half months,” said Tanya Hayes.
Bayou La Batre Police are actively investigating the cause of the fire. Criminal charges could come. They hope to release more details on the investigation soon.