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Military family headed to BAFB loses everything, including child’s ashes, after U-Haul stolen in Georgia

GoFundMe launched to help family recover
The Benton family was on their way to Barksdale Air Force Base when they lost everything after...
The Benton family was on their way to Barksdale Air Force Base when they lost everything after their U-Haul truck was stolen in Georgia.(GoFundMe)
Updated: Mar. 4, 2021 at 1:19 PM CST
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BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) - A military family on their way to start their new life in Bossier City at Barksdale Air Force Base (BAFB) is in desperate need after all of their belongings packed up in a U-Haul were reportedly stolen during their move.

Airman Ben Benton was recently transferred to Barksdale. While his family of four was stopped for the night in Georgia, their U-Haul moving truck was stolen, they say. All of their belongings were taken, including the ashes of their son.

“They were in a small, black urn that was in the shape of a heart and had some gold etching on the top,” Benton said. “You can’t put a price tag on that stuff. Us losing our child and then losing the urn, it’s like losing him all over again. It’s the worst feeling in the world that I would not wish on anybody.”

Dena West, a local realtor, recently sold a house to the Bentons. When she heard what happened she leapt into action.

“I believe God puts people in my path for a reason and I’ve always believed that real estate is my ministry,” West said. “I knew they had crossed my path for a reason and this is a the reason why. I just picked up the phone and started calling people and it snowballed. We’ve had help from Word of God, Johnson’s furniture. We have neighbors that I have never met that heard the story and are stopping by, giving paper goods, filling the fridge. Volunteers of Shreveport have stepped in and helped. All of the wonderful agents at RE/MAX Real Estate Services have donated money.”

Trey McGuire, president of Every Warrior, a local military support charity, says they are raising funds to help the Bentons purchase necessities as well.

“They have seen amazing support from friends, organizations, churches, base leadership, etc...all spanning multiple states,” McGuire wrote in a Facebook post. “While we can never replace the horrific loss of the remains of their child, we can help ease the overall physical burden that will allow them the space to process what has happened, and that’s all we want to do.”

The Bentons lost all their belongings after their U-Haul was stolen during their move to...
The Bentons lost all their belongings after their U-Haul was stolen during their move to Bossier City.(Dena West, Benton family realtor)

A number of area realtors and the family’s soon-to-be neighbors have stepped up and created a GoFundMe account to help the family start over.

Benton says he cannot thank the community, especially Dena, enough.

“We weren’t expecting this,” Benton said. “Coming here the community has been amazing and helped us out a lot. Dena has been a huge, huge blessing with everything between house stuff, being here, reaching out to the community. I just can’t even put it into words. That woman is a saint.”

Covington, GA police say the family’s U-Haul was found abandoned, but that officers could not find Wyatt’s ashes.

They say the investigation is ongoing.

NOTE: KSLA makes no representations or warranties of any kind about the authenticity, accuracy, or reliability of any GoFundMe campaign. Any donations you make to such campaigns are strictly at your own risk. If you have any questions related to the authenticity, accuracy, or reliability of a GoFundMe campaign, please contact GoFundMe directly or consult the GoFundMe Guarantee Policy.

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