23/05/2013 11:30 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Parents Appeal To Thieves To Return Ashes Of Stillborn Son

The best you can hope for is that the thieves didn't know what was in the box they stole from the home of parents Jody and Haley Hughey. And when they do find out, that they will return it with its precious contents undisturbed.

For contained in that precious silver container are the ashes of the couple's baby boy, Caleb, who was stillborn in 2008.

Now the mum and dad, from Georgia, US, have made an emotional appeal for the thieves to return their son to them.

The couple told ABC News about the heartbreaking moment their son was stillborn.

"We spent some time with him before we let him go, and then had him cremated," said Mr Hughey.

"I realise there are people in Oklahoma going through more than us right now, but for us, it's a personal hell."

Since his death, the couple have kept their son's ashes in a silver box, engraved with an angel and 'Caleb Ean Hughey, October 16, 2008'.

But when Mrs Hughey returned from work on Monday, she found a second-floor window had been smashed - and the box had been stolen.

"He is only our only son," Mr Hughey said. "It's devastating for both of us. But for my wife, this is everything.

"She can't have the future she wants, and now she doesn't have a way to hold on to the past."

The box was kept on a dresser in their bedroom, until thieves broke into the couple's home in Cobb County while they were at work on Monday and stole it.

"They were looking for small, valuable stuff," Mr Hughey said.

As well as the box, an iPod, handgun and jewellery were taken.

"What they took from us has absolutely no value whatsoever to them," he added.

"I would ask that they just simply call the police and turn it in. And if the person who actually stole it wants to give it back, they can drive by my house at 3am and throw it in a garbage bag in my front yard. Whatever it takes for them to feel comfortable giving us our son back.

"They may not have even realised what was in there. And they may have simply thought, 'that's a nice looking box, there's probably some expensive jewellery in there'."

Caleb was the Hugheys' only child.

"We've struggled with infertility for about four or five years now, and we've not been able to have children, other than the one. And he was born prematurely. We lost him at birth," Mr Hughey said.

"So he is, to us, he is our only son. And it's very important we get him back."