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November 19, 2012

The photo engraved on the memorial necklaces is shown. (Silent Witness)

Frank Schwakopf and his wife spent the first couple of weeks of August, 2012, at a cabin in the cool country.

When the couple returned to their home near 65th Ave. and McDowell, they realized they'd been robbed," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Darren Burch.

"This could have been your typical residential burglary, except for what was taken," he said. "They took something very personal to the victims: the ashes of their dead son."

Frank said the ashes were attached to a dog tag-style necklace. It had a vial pendant with a dragon on the front of it. The vial contained his son's ashes.

"I can't really describe what it means to me," he said. "It's one of the few things that we have left in memory of our son."

Three other precious jewelry items were also taken: two were memorial necklaces with engraved photos of Frank's wife and son. They were hanging on a porcelain statue of Mary. The other was a heavy silver-link chain with a dragon pendant (see photos below). That one, Frank said, belonged to his son and he wore it all the time.

The Schwakopfs' 37-year-old son was killed in a workplace accident in 2010.

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About the Author


Years with the company: 18

More on what you do (at work): I put up with Mac & Gaydos every day as well as writing and anchoring newscasts and doing some reporting. I also produce Silent Witness which airs every Monday morning.

Education: I started in radio during high school and kept with it. I also graduated from modeling school, but quickly realized it isn't what I love to do…radio is.

Family: Married. One pet…a cat named Molly (but she thinks her name is Princess).

Favorite food: I love anything cheesy or chocolatey.

Favorite spot in Arizona: Our family cabin in Strawberry.

Favorite news memory: Too many to list but I remember one time I helped rescue a litter of puppies found in a hole on an empty lot…

Favorite movie: I like too many to list any one as a favorite. I don't like sad movies so my LEAST favorite is Marley & Me!

First job: Washing dishes at the restaurant my friend's parents owned when I was 13.

First concert: Rick Springfield at the Arizona State Fair in 1981.

#1 sports team: Suns, Diamondbacks and Cardinals

Outside interests: I sing with the band at church, I bake, I read and I treasure hunt at thrift stores and yard sales. I also love to travel…but not if I have to drive.

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