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HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – La’Quinta McKinney got some much needed physical and emotional support Wednesday night in her search for a teddy bear that someone stole from her as she was moving. It’s not just any teddy bear. It’s a cremation urn and it has the ashes of her deceased daughter, La’Vae, inside.
Members of the girls softball team McKinney coaches joined her as she went door to door in her neighborhood asking if anyone knows who took the bear or what happened to it.
“We had practice tonight and they wanted to cancel practice to come here and help me, so I’m a very proud coach/mom right now,” McKinney said.
The group taped flyers on doors, outside apartment complexes, at businesses and even at a church.
They’re hopeful someone saw something and McKinney gets some closure.
“I heard her say how she feels like she’s losing her daughter again,” said Rebekah Lewis, who’s sister plays on the softball team. “I kind of feel like all of us being out here helps ease the pain a little bit knowing she has somebody else to back up.”
“I want to her feel better and not worry about anything and hopefully somebody just returns it,” said player Navah Lewis.
McKinney, a teacher and a mother of 3, fielded calls from newsrooms all over the country and Canada on Wednesday, one day after she shared her story with South Florida.
She explained how the theft occurred — she said that in the rush to move from her Hollywood apartment on Monday she left furniture, clothes and the teddy bear near the door of her unit while she went to rent a truck.
When she returned the teddy bear, wearing one of Lavae’s dresses, was gone.
McKinney says La’Vae died in September 2016 at just 2 months old. She says doctors determined La’Vae died from SIDS.
She told CBS4 News on Tuesday that the episode devastated her.
“Losing her again – the feeling comes back to the morning of Sept 16 waking up and she was gone so it does feel like losing again,” she said on Monday.
On Wednesday she said she continued to struggle with the loss.
“A never-ending nightmare,” she said. “It’s like a dream that I want to wake up from.”
But on this night there were smiles and the softball players cheered for La’Vae. McKinney is remaining positive that whoever took this stuffed animal to do the right thing and bring it back.
“We’re not concerned about pressing charges,” McKinney said. “We’re not concerned about anything else that was taken. Once she’s returned, we’ll be happy.”
McKinney is asking the person with the teddy bear to return it to a local fire station.
She also provided her phone number — 786 612-0104 — for anyone to call with information on the bear.
She knows she made a terrible mistake leaving the teddy bear outside for a brief time and she hopes someone has the heart to come forward and return her daughter to her.
Hollywood Police are investigating.