Keith Dougherty is in mourning again more than a decade after his son was killed in Iraq.
Last week, the 61-year-old Bayshore Gardens resident received a call that his trailer missing. The trailer sat for a decade behind Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church where Dougherty works as a maintenance supervisor. It contained medical records, tax forms and coolers.
The trailer also contained the belongings of his son, which are much more valuable to Dougherty.
Marine Lance Cpl. Scott Dougherty, a 2002 Bayshore High School graduate, died July 6, 2004, near Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was 20.
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"It's hard. I'm a wreck," Dougherty said on Christmas Eve, his voice shaking. "It's the only thing I had left of him."
The white trailer was never registered. He said it must have been stolen between 6:45 and 7:45 a.m. Wednesday because the employee who called him about the theft saw the trailer behind the church when he arrived at work.
Dougherty has military ribbons at home and photos from the men who served with his son. He wears a dog tag taken off his son's body.
The trailer held duffle bags full of his son's clothes, a 100-pound punching bag and Scott's uniforms. There was the paintball equipment the father and son had enjoyed together, and the Christmas lights Dougherty said he hasn't been able to put up again since his son's death.
"Some of the stuff I bought still has the tags on them," he said. "Some of his uniforms have his name on them. ... I never took that off."
Dougherty called the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and was given a case number by deputies. However, his trailer lacked a vehicle identification number because it was never registered.
"It can't be entered into FCIC/NCIC — the state and national databases — stolen without the VIN number, registration, that sort of thing," sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow said. "They can still report the incident, no doubt about that."
FCIC stands for the Florida Crime Information Center, which contains Florida warrant information. NCIC stands for the National Crime Information Center, which contains all kinds of records, including stolen articles, boats and license plates.
According to Dougherty, deputies asked him to itemize everything and come up with a total value of items lost.
"They want me to sit down and itemize everything — rank up a list and put a value on it," he said. "There's stuff in there that you can't even put a value on."
Dougherty said he was told by the sheriff's office the case hasn't been assigned to a detective yet, and probably won't until after the holidays.
"I figure by now it's long gone," he said.
Dougherty's daughter, Nicole Dougherty, said she has a purse made from a shirt belonging to her brother that she always keeps with her. After she found out the trailer was stolen, she thought about the purse.
"That's probably it because I don't know exactly how much of my brother's stuff was in that trailer," the 34-year-old said, her voice trembling. "That's all I have left of his."
Dougherty said he doesn't care about anything else in the trailer but his son's uniforms and military belongings. He is asking whoever took the trailer to call him anonymously at 941-779-4020.