Springville Woman Says TSA Dumped Her Mother's Cremated Remains

July 19, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2013 at 7:25 PM EDT

By John Borsa

July 19, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2013 at 7:25 PM EDT

SPRINGVILLE, NY (WKBW) - "They took my mom," said Jessica Steele, fighting back tears and reliving the painful loss of her mother nearly a year ago to cancer.

Steele went to Sacramento to spread some of her mother's crematory remains at a family campground this week. On the way back, she said the TSA inspected her checked-in luggage in Sacramento and opened a glass jar with the rest of her mother's ashes inside.

"Three-quarters of the bottle. Three quarters of the bottle of my mom is missing. God knows where," she said.

The ashes were not labeled.

"It's hard enough losing your mom, you know. And you go through that. And you have her ashes to sit and pray and know she's with you," Steele said.

"Where is she? And is she unhappy where she is? Have you ever heard of such a thing?" she asked.

According to the TSA website, "Under no circumstances will an officer open the container, even if the passenger requests this be done."

"We honestly understand how painful it is when somebody loses a loved one so we do what we can to treat crematory remains with respect," said TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein.

And to facilitate screening we suggest people purchase a temporary or permanent crematory container that's made of a lighter weight material," she said.