ANTIOCH -- Michiko Kiyoi just wants her baby back.

As for the rest of the items stolen from her Antioch residence, "They can have them," she said.

But not the sterling silver, heart-shaped urn that was tucked away inside a jewelry box inside her home. The urn was among the many items missing Wednesday when Kiyoi returned from an appointment in San Francisco to find her residence ransacked.

Inside the urn are the ashes of her infant son, Gabriel, who died during birth in January. Gabriel's name and the month and year of his death are inscribed on the urn, too.

Now, Kiyoi is pleading with those who invaded her home to return him.

"Put it on the doorstep. Leave it in the driveway. Toss it in the backyard," Kiyoi, 35, said through tears. "I just don't want them to discard my baby like he didn't mean anything. He meant everything to our family. He still means everything to us. We love him."

Gabriel Kiyoi was diagnosed with Down syndrome and with a spine that wouldn't fuse correctly while in utero, and doctors told Michiko to end the pregnancy. But she said her personal beliefs against abortion prevented that, and she carried Gabriel for 7 1/2 months until delivering him Jan. 27.

After Gabriel was pronounced dead at birth, a funeral home cremated his body and Kiyoi kept the ashes in a bag for six weeks until her 16-year-old son found an urn the family could afford while searching the Internet.


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"I've kissed that urn. I've held that urn. I've slept with it under my pillow," Kiyoi said. "I talk to it. I heal with it. That's why I'm just pleading for these people to bring him back."

Police are investigating the incident but provided no details. Kiyoi, who also has 3-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter, said she has found the neighborhood to be quiet since moving onto the street in September. She hinted that the intruders must have known her routine, because it's unusual for her not to be home.

The family has already been coping with a turbulent year. Kiyoi said her family was homeless from June to September before finding their current living situation.

She suspects the intruders were in her home for hours.

"They took the kids' Christmas stuff and found other things that would've taken a long time to find," she said. "But for me, it's about my baby. He needs to be back here."

Rick Hurd covers breaking news. Contact him at 925-262-2728 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.