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Arizona native chases stolen truck with son's urn in the front seat

Navarro Family
Posted at 10:26 PM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 13:32:46-05

ST. MICHAELS, AZ — A family getting ready to spread the ashes of their newborn had to instead try to stop thieves from stealing their truck with their baby's ashes inside.

Sierra and AJ Navarro drove from Grand Junction, Colorado to the Window Rock District of St. Michaels, Arizona in the Navajo Nation to spread the ashes of their newborn, Sawyer.

Just two days before Christmas, the Navarros say Sawyer died in part from the rare condition of Heterotaxy Syndrome, which is a birth defect that causes the heart and other organs to fail.

Just 51 days after his birth, Sawyer died.

Sierra said she spent Christmas picking out an urn for her second child.

As they were preparing to leave the Navajo Land Inn in St. Michaels, AJ said he left the hotel room to warm up his truck on a cold Wednesday morning.

He headed back inside to grab the bags when he heard something.

"All of a sudden I hear the engine rev up and I thought it was going to blow up or something," said AJ.

Security video from a business across the parking lot from the hotel shows someone jumping in the truck.

The Navarros said two younger women were in the truck trying to steal it.

"I was born here on the reservation; my mom's side is all here. We were going to spread the ashes on my mom's grave because my mom never got to see them and all I could think about was, his ashes are in the front seat of that truck."

The ice on the ground of the parking lot led the thieves to spin in place for a moment and gave AJ time to sprint out. He said he tried using tools to break the window but wasn't able to.

Once the truck gained traction to back out, AJ hopped in the bed of the truck as it drove off.

"I'm back here, I'm going to ride it out but as soon as I got close to the highway, all I could think is my wife and daughter. If something happened to me and they rolled the truck and I'm in the back, it's not a good situation to be in," said AJ.

That led AJ to jump out of the bed of his moving, stolen truck.

Other than some cuts and bruises on his hand and leg, he's going to be OK.

Sierra showed off AJ's hand saying, "nothing broken, thank goodness."

In a statement to ABC15, the Navajo Nation Police Department said the truck was found at a car wash in Chinle at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, which is about an hour northwest of where the truck was stolen.

The family says the urn was returned to them late Wednesday night. Tow truck drivers reportedly told the family two people were in custody, however, police have not confirmed those details.

Navajo police said the investigation remains ongoing and more information will be released as it becomes available.