‘Oh my goodness, where is my baby?’ A teddy bear holding dead infant’s ashes is stolen

Rushed and under pressure to move out of her apartment, La’Quinta McKinney placed the most precious item she owned between some bags and boxes outside her Hollywood apartment. She then left for about 30 minutes to pick up a U-Haul truck.

When she got back, the Broward County school teacher found bags ripped open, boxes torn apart, clothing and toys gone — a ransacking by unknown thieves. McKinney desperately wants just one thing back: A brown teddy bear that for the past two years has served as an urn, holding the ashes of a two-month-old child she lost shortly after birth to Sudden Death Infant Syndrome.

“It looked like a hurricane had gone through,” said McKinney, 33, who teaches first grade at Avant Garde Academy in Hollywood. “I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, where is my baby?’”


The teddy bear holding the ashes of La’Quinta McKinney’s two-month-old baby, La’Vae, who died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome two years ago. It was stolen Monday in Hollywood.

La’Quinta McKinney

La’Vae McKinney was two months old on Sept. 16, 2016, when the family found her lifeless in her bed in their three-bedroom Hollywood duplex. An autopsy determined that La’Vae had simply stopped breathing as she slept. McKinney and her husband at the time chose to forego a funeral.

“After she passed away, I didn’t want a traditional burial,” McKinney said. “So we got a brown bear with her date of birth and date of death and put her ashes in it.”

McKinney said she was moving herself and two children because of because of constant disagreements with her landlord. She said she had paid up through Oct. 15, but when she returned home early Monday morning she found the landlord had let painters into the home to prep for the new tenant before McKinney had even finished packing.

In her rush to clear the apartment, McKinney said she placed most of the family’s belongings just outside the door and pick up truck. She took her two kids, 9 and 1, with her.

Now, McKinney said, she just wants the teddy bear returned, no questions asked. She said she has no intention of pressing charges.

“Like I said before, there are so many things missing, work clothes, furniture, toys. But I don’t care about the material things that are gone. I just want the urn back with my baby’s remains. The other things I can replace. That I can’t get back. I just want her back in my possession.”