Calgary senior wants answers after brother’s rings go missing following body's removal from B.C. hospital
Robert Rand says he has not had a chance to properly grieve the loss of his twin brother as he fights for the return of a ring that had been secured to his brother’s fingers when he left a hospital morgue in Vancouver.
Robert Rand lost his ‘womb mate’ on October 29, 2017 following a brief battle with cancer. Lane Rand, who had survived bladder cancer nearly four years earlier, began to experience back pain in early October and sought medical advice. “He had cancer of the backbone and cancer of the liver,” said 78-year-old Robert Rand.
Lane was admitted to St. Paul’s Hospital in his home province of British Columbia. “From the time he went into the hospital he went right into palliative care because they were more equipped to deal with his situation,” said Robert. “It was only two weeks in palliative care and he died.”
“It was a real kick to the teeth.”
Lane was single and had no children so Robert, who lives in Calgary, helped get his brother’s affairs in order. At the time of his death, Lane was wearing one of the matching ruby rings that the twins received from their parents on their 21st birthday and a diamond ring that he had purchased for himself. Robert says the ruby ring is worth approximately $2,300 and his brother had paid over $3,000 for the diamond ring.
“When my brother passed away he had his rings on and they couldn’t get them off so (a hospital worker) said we’re going to tape them securely to his fingers so that there’s no way that they can get lost,” said Robert. “He went to the morgue with the rings secured to his fingers.”
A St. Paul’s Hospital report states “A ring with a diamond on it couldn’t be removed from the patient’s left fourth finger. Another ring with a ruby on it couldn’t be removed from patient’s right fourth finger. Both fingers wrapped with tape to secure rings on them.”
Robert says hospital staff provided contact information for ‘A Basic Cremation’ in Coquitlam, B.C. and he made arrangements to have his brother cremated.
“I told the owner, Preston Webb, that (Lane) was coming there and that he had rings on his fingers,” said Robert. “He said when we prepare him for cremation we’ll make sure that the rings are removed and we will return the rings with his ashes.”
Lane’s cremated remains were shipped to Robert’s home but there was no jewelry in the package. “I got on the phone and I contacted Webb and I said ‘Where are the rings?’ and he said ‘Well, he didn’t have any on when he got here’.”
According to Robert, the owner of A Basic Cremation contacted the driver who had transported Lane’s body and the ruby ring was found in a plastic bag under the driver’s seat. The diamond ring has not been located.
“The very fact that they found one tells me that somebody was doing some hanky panky.”
Robert reported the incident to RCMP in British Columbia. He says he received notice from RCMP on January 30, 2018 stating the investigation into the ring’s disappearance had ended as there was not enough evidence to have a charge stick.
“Someone is profiteering off of this sort of thing,” said Robert. “How often does this happen and to how many people?”
CTV Vancouver visited A Basic Cremation on January 31, 2018 to discuss the investigation into the missing ring but the owner of the business declined to comment on the matter and directed all questions to St. Paul’s Hospital.
Robert plans to scatter Lane’s ashes in the coming months at the same spot where their mother’s ashes were scattered. "We got along well and I miss him." He says he was 'tickled pink' to receive the ruby ring and he hopes Lane's diamond ring surfaces.
Robert encourages anyone who has a loved one in palliative care to secure the patient's jewelry before their death to ensure they don't face a similar scenario.
With files from CTV's Kathy Le