WATERLOO, Iowa – The wife of slain U.S. Army Spc. Travis Vaughn had to endure his February death in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Now, Heather Vaughn is dealing with the theft of the few items he left her — photographs, his military identification tags and the watch he was wearing when he died.
Vaughn told police she was visiting friends in Waterloo when someone broke into her car. Burglars took her purse, a digital camera and a black velvet bag with her late husband's military identification tags and a broken watch, which he was wearing when he died.
"It's bad enough when someone steals something, but Heather has already lost enough," said Elaine Reinertson, Heather's mother.
A neighbor later found the purse and the tags nearby.
But family members are making a plea for the return of the broken Casio watch and the memory card in the camera that contains the photos.
"Those pictures are irreplaceable," Reinertson said.
The images include shots of Travis Vaughn's casket being removed from an airplane in Des Moines and the home they once shared in Tennessee. There is also a picture of her son, Taylin, teddy bear tucked under his arm, placing a rose at the Night Stalker memorial during a recent ceremony. Travis Vaughn worked on Chinook helicopters for the Night Stalkers.
Reinertson is asking that the watch and the memory card containing the camera's pictures be mailed anonymously to the Waterloo Police Department so they can be returned to Heather Vaughn.
She has posted flyers describing the missing items but so far hasn't had a response, she said.