When Bill Nave woke up and walked outside his friend’s Rohnert Park apartment Monday morning, the first thing he realized was his blue 2003 Ford F350 truck was gone.
His second thought was his mother was gone, too.
For days, the 45-year-old Novato man had been carrying her ashes inside a backpack resting on the truck’s back seat.
Not just her ashes, though. Her Chihuahua Belle’s ashes were in there, too, in a box resting on top of the ashes of Nave’s German shepherd Whitey
“I lived out in the country for so long that I just got accustomed to leaving the keys in the truck,” he said. “I just never expected this. ... It’s just a quiet little family neighborhood. Kids are always outside playing. I just never expected this here.”
Nave was with a friend Sunday evening, and the two picked up dinner from Oliver’s Market before heading home, where he fell asleep on the couch, watching news coverage of Hurricane Irma. Nave has friends in south Florida, and had been thinking about taking his truck that way to help with cleanup efforts, he said.
His mother, Dede DeFelice, 69, died in 2015, and her final wish was to be cremated and her ashes scattered in the Pacific, just outside the Golden Gate Bridge, along with her beloved Belle, who died in 2016. Whitey, Nave’s German shepherd, died the same year.
Since then, Nave has been saving up for the outing, including funds needed to charter a boat.
“She grew up in Indiana, but fell in love with San Francisco,” Nave said of his mother, who lived in Santa Rosa until her death. “I’d try to stop and see her as much as possible … She was an awesome lady. She understood me. She was always there. I’m at a loss for words, frankly.”
The Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety is handling the investigation.
“The truck is one thing,” Nave said, appealing to the thieves. “If nothing else, let me know where that backpack is.”