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Texas woman in search of her husband’s ashes stolen in Alaska

Tonyeka Williams-Birdow and her husband Albert spent their 18 years together flying around the world.
Updated: Feb. 25, 2022 at 7:30 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Tonyeka Williams-Birdow and her husband Albert spent their 18 years together flying around the world.

“We traveled the world a lot together because of my job,” Tonyeka Williams-Birdow, a New York-based flight attendant, said. “And then even prior to that, you know, we’d take trips and stuff like that.”

The couple traveled to numerous locations, such as Jamaica, Paris and Hawaii together.

Traveling to Alaska for Williams-Birdow was something she always wanted to do, but she was never able to do so with her husband.

“He passed away in his sleep. Just as peaceful as he came into my life, is just as peaceful as he left,” she said.

Albert died in 2018, after a long, 14-year battle of congestive heart failure. However, his journey of being Williams-Birdow’s travel companion did not end there. Instead, for the past three years everywhere Williams-Birdow went, she carried a part of Albert with her in a heart shaped urn.

“He goes everywhere with me,” Williams-Birdow said. “He did before, so I like to keep the journey with him.”

Last week, Williams-Birdow found herself having a 40-hour layover in Anchorage for her job. For the first time ever, she was finally able to make that trip to Alaska she had been dreaming of. But a dream trip quickly turned into a nightmare on her last night in the state.

On Feb. 20, while waiting for her pick-up order, her rental car that was parked on 3rd Avenue was broken into. All her belongings were stolen, including Albert’s ashes. The Anchorage Police Department confirmed the theft was reported. The case is still open, a spokesperson said via email.

“I just felt like I had lost him all over again, but this time it felt a little more permanent because I didn’t know where he was,” Williams-Birdow said.

Williams-Birdow hit the ground running. She searched the garbage bins around downtown Anchorage and spoke to numerous establishments, hoping someone had seen her belongings. Using her phone, she was able to track certain items inside her bag, but everything kept leading to a dead end.

This left Williams-Birdow to fly back from Alaska, with questions unanswered and without her husband.

“I just said well, you know, maybe his final, final resting place he may have wanted to be in Alaska. But it wasn’t by his choice,” Williams-Birdow said.

Now back at home in Texas, Williams-Birdow is preparing for a trip back to Alaska. As she keeps her vows close to her heart, she is on a mission to bring her husband back home.

“We would say, you know, ‘till death do us part and beyond. So, we meant that. Whoever took our final breaths first and beyond that,” Williams-Birdow said.

Williams-Birdow said she plans to keep coming back to Alaska until she is able to reunite with her husband’s urn. She said she just wants her husband back, with no questions asked.

Williams-Birdow asked that if anybody has information, they reach out to her via Facebook, where she goes by “Tony Birdow.”

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