'All I have left of him': Senior searching for late twin's ring
Published Thursday, February 1, 2018 10:23AM PST
A grieving family is looking for answers after a valuable ring was not returned with the remains of their loved one.
Robert Rand's "womb-mate" – his fraternal twin brother, Lane – died in palliative care at St. Paul's Hospital in downtown Vancouver in October.
"We were fairly close," the 78-year-old who goes by Bob told CTV News.
"We got along well and I miss him. He was just a real, all-around good person. Everyone I knew liked him."
Originally from Calgary, Lane moved to Vancouver and loved to spend time at Kitsilano Beach and Stanley Park. He loved reading and travelling, Bob remembed.
He was diagnosed with bladder cancer a few years ago, but recovered. Then in October, doctors found he had cancer in his spine and liver.
There was a discussion that Lane should move back to Calgary, and he'd planned to, but instead he was checked right into palliative care. He died after two weeks.
The family made arrangements to have Lane's body cremated and his remains brought back to Calgary.
Lane's personal effects, including his jewelry, would be returned to his family. But when his remains arrived, there was no sign of the two rings he'd been wearing when he died.
One of the rings had a diamond, and was something he'd bought for himself for around $3,000. The other was gold with a red ruby, a gift from his parents for his 21st birthday. Bob was given a matching ring the same day.
"It's basically all I have left of him," Bob said.
Documents said he'd been wearing the rings at the hospital, but that nurses were unable to remove them. Bob said someone at the hospital told him they were going to tape them to his fingers so they wouldn't get lost when his body was brought to the morgue.
The Rand family hired A Basic Cremation, based on Coquitlam, to handle the cremation and transportation of the remains, but the rings never showed up.
Bob said he'd phoned the owner of the cremation service before the body was transferred to make sure he knew about the rings.
"He said, 'When we prepare him for cremation, we'll make sure that the rings are removed and we will return the rings with his ashes,'" Bob said.
They contacted the company and staff were able to locate the diamond ring in one of the drivers' vehicles, but the second was nowhere to be found. Bob was told that Lane wasn't wearing the rings when his body arrived.
CTV News reached out to the company, but was told to direct all questions to the hospital. The hospital told CTV that the rings went missing while in the possession of A Basic Cremation.
Staff at St. Paul's said they were "heartbroken" for the Rand family, but that there wasn't much they could do since the rings went missing after the body left.
It's still unclear if the ring was simply misplaced, and where it was last seen. Police said there was not enough information for a criminal case.
Bob was left with more questions than answers.
"Who removed it from his finger?... How often does this happen and to how many people?" he said.
"The very fact that they found one tells me that somebody was doing some hanky panky."
He advises anyone with a loved one in palliative care to make sure they get the jewelry off as soon as they can, or they may never see it again.
The Rand family plans to scatter Lane's ashes with those of his mother in the spring.
With reports from CTV Vancouver's Scott Roberts and CTV Calgary's Kathy Le and Ryan White