Family Sues, Son's Ashes Stolen in Lafayette

Thieves stole a bronze urn from a $3.2 million mausoleum at the Oakmont Memorial Park Cemetery in Lafayette last year.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The family is now suing StoneMor California for $3.2 million, accusing the cemetery operator of negligence and failing to tell the family about a previous break-in attempt days before thieves stole their son's ashes.

    After someone broke into a Lafayette mausoleum last year and stole their son's ashes, a family is suing the cemetery operator for $3.2 million.

    Thieves stole a bronze urn from the Oakmont Memorial Park Cemetery in Lafayette on Jan. 16, 2011, according to Sam Singer's public relations firm, who is representing the family. The urn contained the remains of Thomas Gonzales II.

    Gonzales, co-founder of Pleasanton-based Internet company, Commerce One, died on Dec. 5, 2001 after battling cancer for eight months. He was 35.

    The Gonzales family sued StoneMor California on Tuesday, seeking a minimum of $3.2 million.

    The family spent four years and millions of dollars building the custom mausoleum made of white marble, the release said. Now, they want the cemetery to buy back the mausoleum, which has broken glass on the floor after the break-in.

    "Now, the mausoleum has no value to my family," said Gonzales' father, Tom Gonzales, Sr. "The sight of it causes my family so much pain and suffering we think it's only right for Oakmont to be held accountable."

    The family is accusing the cemetery operator of negligence and failing to tell the family about a previous break-in attempt days before thieves stole their son's ashes.

    A spokesman for StoneMor declined to comment Wednesday on the issue.

    A groundskeeper at the Oakmont Cemetery noticed damage to the mausoleum's steel frame doors, but no one told the Gonzales family about it, according to the release. Thieves stole the urn days later.

    Police never found the stolen urn, but the family is still offering a reward.

    Below is a photo of the broken glass inside the mausoleum after the break-in.