Family sought bear costume memento after loved one's car crash death

TAFT, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) The family of Jerry Unruh, who died in a car crash early Saturday morning, was left searching for a memento that disappeared after the accident.

Unruh, 29, was lovingly called "Jer Bear" by his family. He received the nickname from his maternal grandmother when he was just a little boy.

According to friends, Unruh embodied that nickname and even bought a bear suit back in November that he wore often.

"We have charity events and he always wore this big bear suit," said Sara Brus, a friend.

When Unruh got in the accident on Saturday, the bear head fell out of the truck and was placed on a fence post nearby by PG&E workers at the scene.

Family and friends later went back to get the head, and it was gone, so the family turned to social media for help. They heard talk that people in Taft had seen a young man wearing the head around town.

"Our friends went to Taft and found a lot more people who had seen him wearing it," said Brus.

On Friday, at his funeral, Unruh's family and friends spoke about how they hope to have the head returned to them because of its sentimental value.

"It has his smell," said his aunt, Cindy Bynum. "It has a lot of meaning to my sister."

The story does appear to have a happy ending, though. On Friday afternoon, Unruh's aunt received a call that one of the members of the nonprofit organization, The Chive, that Jerry had been a part of was able to track down the bear head in Taft and would return it to the family.