GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) -- To John George Minea, the bronze urn with a fly fisherman on Georgia Eaton's knickknack shelf looked valuable enough to take as payment in a money dispute, authorities say.
To the 76-year-old Eaton, the urn, which disappeared July 22, 1999, was priceless because it contained the ashes of her late husband, Frank Eaton.
Sheriff's deputies in Ramsey County, Minn., found the urn when they raided Minea's trailer house and seized 832 unreturned library books valued at $14,400.
On Wednesday, Frank Eaton's ashes were back home after being shipped to Colorado via UPS, a day before what would have been his 77th birthday.
A Ramsey County sheriff's employee took Eaton's name and birth and death dates from an inscription on the urn, searched the Internet, and matched the name and dates with records in Mesa County.
"We called out there to Colorado, and they'd had a report of the urn's theft," Ramsey County Detective Todd Thompson said Thursday. "It matched up, and we're glad to help. This one is a feel-good."
An arrest warrant has been issued for Minea, who is wanted on suspicion of misdemeanor charges of abuse of a corpse and theft.
It is unlikely Minea will be extradited to Colorado to face those charges, Mesa County sheriff's spokeswoman Janet Prell said.
Minea was being held Thursday in the Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul on felony theft charges, Thompson said. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine if convicted.
The 36-year-old Minea had worked for Georgia Eaton as a handyman for two weeks in July 1999. Thompson said Minea told investigators he took the urn in a dispute over money.
But Georgia Eaton said she had no recollection of a dispute and that nothing else had disappeared from her house.
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