Hours after alerting the public to a mysterious urn vase with cremated ashes that was discovered in North Carolina woods, authorities on Thursday say they found its owner.
The vase, along with a safe as well as electronics and tools, were stolen during a home break-in north of Lincolnton on Oct. 22, Lincoln County sheriff's investigators discovered.
The homeowner was away when a thief broke into her house on Maiden-Salem Road, investigators said. The house is about two miles away from where a man found the urn on Feb. 1. The urn had been left in woods off Lakeland Avenue, which Google Maps shows is a residential street near U.S. 321.
The man spotted a red box as he walked along two wooded lots he's considering buying, authorities said.
Inside the box was a gold and black urn vase that appears to have been in the woods "for a long time," the man told officers, according to a sheriff's news release.
The urn has "no identifying markings" that might identify who's inside, investigators said in asking the public for help in the case.
Sheriff's investigators returned the vase to the owner Thursday afternoon after she gave them "a complete identification of the item," according to the sheriff's office release.