Hoping for a sign: Sanford woman continues search for mother's ashes after flood dismantles home

The structure of Kathy Parsch's home was carried about half a mile from the house's...
The structure of Kathy Parsch's home was carried about half a mile from the house's foundation. It is spray painted with a note to call the owner before removing in case her mom's ashes are underneath or around it. (WJRT)
Published: May. 28, 2020 at 10:54 PM EDT
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(05/28/20) - Although a Sanford woman is without her most beloved possession, her spirit is not broken.

Amid the destruction she's holding out hope that all is not lost despite what it may look like now.

Kathy Parsch's home, like the others in her downtown Sanford neighborhood, was obliterated. We found the structure of her house itself about half a mile from its foundation.

"It just looks like a bomb blew up, just went off, and it's just chaos," Parsch said.

She returned to the site for the fourth time to continue a very important search Thursday, promising that if she found it she would never let it go again.

She’s been out here multiple days since being chased from her home by a 500-year flood, but Kathy Parsch is still...

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"That'd be the first thing I'd reach for instead of the bills I had to pay because that's what I did, I reached for the bills I had to pay and not my mom," she said. "I'll kick myself in the butt for that."

After being chased out of her home by the surging water on the night of the dam failures, Parsch and friends hopped in kayaks that they borrowed or found, and returned to her house to rummage through it the very next day.

"I was hoping that she was going to give me a sign to tell me that she was still there," Parsch said.

But her mother's ashes and the small pink urn she keeps them in were nowhere to be found.

After practically hiking through the water, mud, debris and who knows what else, her friends spotted her home and went inside. A friend of hers wrote her phone number on the siding of the house so that whoever cleans up the mess will call her so that they can search for her mother's ashes underneath it.

"I'm still hoping. There's still a ton of debris outside my house. It's possible she's there," Parsch said.

She's been back about four times within the week of the 500 -year-flood. Following the flood in 2017, the previous owner raised the house high enough to the point that Kathy thought it would be able to withstand a flood. She's owned the home a little over a year now. It and her two cars were paid for. Now, she has to start over.

"It's catastrophic, so yes, someone needs to help out all of this community, and not just in Sanford, in Midland and all over this area," she said.

But no legal judgement or settlement can replace the ashes of her mother, Mary Parsch.

"Maybe a year from now, maybe two years from now, somebody might find it," she said. "If that happens, cause miracles like that do happen, that would just be phenomenal as well."

You can help support Kathy Parsch's flood fund