NEWS24-680 reader Stacey Scott was working out on the Iron Horse Trail in Danville Monday morning when she came across this well-crafted, impressively labeled box – apparently containing the last earthly remains of one “Diesel” Marmolejo.
“We’re not sure if he was left at a favorite walking spot or was dropped off there…” Stacey wrote. “Either way he unfortunately can’t stay there. I’d like to get him back to his loved ones if possible…”
Stacey set out to look for answers. Eventually, she determined that her worst fears had not been realized and she was not holding onto human cremains. Turns out, “Diesel” was a Rottweiler-mastiff mix belonging to Hayward veterinarian George Marmolejo – and Diesel’s ashes were stolen during a 2006 burglary of the vet’s Hayward home.
“The loss of a pet … is a real, profound sorrow,” Marmolejo, a veterinarian at Chabot Veterinary Clinic in Hayward, said at the time. “They are our children, and the memories will be in your heart.”
And now, after a nine year separation, it appears Diesel may again be reunited with his family – at least in spirit if not by flesh, thanks to Stacey.
Burglars took the ashes of Marmolejo’s dog, Gustave Van Der Meer, in August of 2006, perhaps thinking the handsome cherry box contained jewelry. Other items, including jewelry, an iPod, credit cards, family portraits were also taken, but Marmolejo’s family was particularly crushed by the loss of their beloved Diesel.
“He was a gentle giant, 153 pounds,” he said at the time of the burglary. “He touched a lot of people, too. He was a part of our family.”
After nine years, Marmolejo might have given up hope of ever finding Diesel’s ashes, certainly he never expected they would turn up alongside the Iron Horse Trail. But on Monday, they did. And now the Marmolejo family and Stacey are in touch, arranging for Diesel to return home one last time after the appropriate police agencies are notified.