Military spouse Kassandra Benton is living through every parent's nightmare. Again.
When the Bentons moved to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, they loaded a U-Haul with their furniture, clothing and personal items, including the ashes of their son, Wyatt, who died at six months old.
The couple, who were moving with their daughters, Charlotte and Amelia, awoke to discover their belongings were stolen while they were sleeping in a hotel room just outside of Atlanta.
Benton said her first thought was not about her stuff but about her son, who was born in 2015. "It didn't hit me that our stuff was gone; it hit me that our son's ashes were in there," Kassandra told the Today show. "That was the first thing I realized. Wyatt was gone."
The couple filed a police report, then continued to their duty station.
A few days after being stolen, the U-Haul was located Thursday, about 30 minutes from the hotel where the Bentons stayed. There wasn't much left, though -- just a few bags of clothing.
Military spouses at Barksdale Air Force Base have rallied around Kassandra Benton as she moves to a new place while grieving. They established a GoFundMe page for the family -- about $6,000 toward the $10,000 goal was raised as of early Friday afternoon EST -- and are sharing the story to help in any way possible.
"I'm mourning as if I just lost him," Kassandra Benton told "Today.'' "I just beg whoever took him to have a heart. Imagine it being their own kid or family member that they love and think about how they would feel. Please just return him. We don't even care if they drop him somewhere that someone would recognize and let us have him back. It feels like we are losing him all over again."
We know the power and reach of the military spouse community. If you have any information, please contact the Covington, Georgia, Police Department at 770-786-7605.
--Rebecca Alwine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @rebecca_alwine.
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