SEYMOUR, Ind. (WDRB) -- First he lost his mother, and now, because of a shocking mistake by the U.S. Postal service, a southern Indiana man has also lost his mother’s remains.

“It's devastating. It's sad,” said Donald Mink, an EMT and firefighter from Seymour.

When Mink's mother, Louise, passed away in February, she was cremated, and the family paid the postal service to ship her ashes from North Dakota, where she lived, to her native Indiana. The U.S. Postal Service is the only legal way to ship human remains.

“I just want to lay her to rest in Austin with my grandma and grandpa where she belongs,” Mink said.

But when the remains failed to arrive after a couple of weeks, Mink got suspicious.

“Ever since I got the tracking number, every time I've looked or anybody else has looked, it said that it's dead mail,” Mink said.

In this case, dead mail is an ironic term that means post office has lost Louise Mink's ashes.

“The post office said that they should be in a hub somewhere, maybe in Atlanta, in a recovery hub," Mink said. "But they don't know. Obviously, they've not gotten them back to me yet."

The postal service made a statement Friday evening:

The Postal Service offers our deepest sympathy to the Mink family for the loss of their loved one.  We are keenly aware of their desire to locate the missing item as soon as possible.  We regret that to date the cremains have not been located, but are committed to our ongoing, vigilant search to find them.  

The family is still holding out hope that the remains will be found.

“I don't want anybody to ever go through what I'm going through – ever,” Mink said.

And he hopes someone is held accountable.

“There's no amount of money that can ever bring my mother back, but I do feel like someone should pay, one way or another,” he said.

Mink said he has hired an attorney in North Dakota to investigate but has not decided yet whether to file a lawsuit.

Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.