The death of a Rochester man in mid-December near Peoria, Illinois has led to a plea for help from his family.
It all revolves around the theft of a funeral home bag filled with cards from family and friends that they say are irreplaceable.
The shocking death of Gabriel Tudor, 24, in a freak traffic accident was the start of a terrible sequence of events for the Tudor family.
Tudor was killed when he was struck by a truck on I-74 back on December 14 near Peoria. The Illinois State Police said Tudor was eastbound on I-74 in Henry County about 11:30 p.m. December 14 when his vehicle crossed the center media and hit a westbound SUV. Moments later, ISP said when Tudor attempted to cross the highway to talk to the other driver, he was hit by a Ford F-750 and killed.
Tudor was a St. Cloud State graduate who was living in Rochester working as a researcher at Mayo Clinic.
His family gathered for Tudor's funeral December 22 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Peoria, then after Christmas, his father and other family members came to Rochester to gather his personal belongings.
Greg Tudor said while at his son's home at 1716 5th Street Southwest, or possibly while they were staying at the Holiday Inn Express, someone stole a funeral bag from the back of his pickup truck. He filed a report with Rochester police, which reads in part: "After the funeral and wake, the funeral home gave me a bag of envelopes containing cards and donations from over 800 people. They were in a green bag that was in the back of my pickup truck. The weather was ice cold and snowy - I thought one of my sons who was helping me retrieve his personal belongings had brought the bag into the cab of the truck - he had not. The bag was stolen out of the back."
Tudor, who is an emergency room doctor at OSF HealthCare in Peoria, said all of the funeral cards and donations to two charities are gone, possibly $4,000 worth of donations. They searched nearby dumpsters and around both locations but found nothing.
"Despite contacting the Rochester police and offering a reward - there has been no recovery of that precious treasure trove of kind words, memories, thoughts and donations," said Dr. Tudor on Facebook. "I am heartsick over this loss, however I take comfort in the memory of everyone bearing with the incredibly long line and delayed time to get through it to share in our sorrow and pray over the body of Gabriel. Also, perhaps this person will have a change of heart and send the bag sometime in the future."
Dr. Tudor said the stolen bag was green, about 16 inches tall, and bore the words "Wright & Salmon" from the mortuary.
Contact police if you have any information that could help them crack this case.