COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Denise Jarrett’s mother, Lydia Harden, died in 2016. As the oldest child, Jarrett was put in charge of settling her affairs.

“My mother was in Cuyahoga County, and with me being here, it was a little difficult trying to get things done going back and forth to Cleveland,” Jarrett said. “So, I tried to find an attorney here to help me through that probate process.”

Jarrett put out a request on One of the first responses came from Donald Cox, an attorney based in Orient.

“He called me right away,” Jarrett said. “Like, within a day.”

Jarrett said she discussed everything with Cox, paid him a $1,000 retainer, and gathered the documents he requested, including Harden’s original will.

“I went ahead and got that together and actually took it to his house and put it in his mailbox,” Jarrett said. “Well, months went by, and I didn’t hear from him.”

Jarrett said she called Cox, and he told her he was still working on it. But after another few weeks, Jarrett said again, she heard nothing.

“Finally, it got to the point where I called and the numbers were disconnected,” Jarrett said.

Jarrett began calling other attorneys, the Ohio Bar Association, Supreme Court, and the Grievance Committee, but was told this could take several more years to resolve.

“I said, you know what… I’m going to see if NBC4 can help me out with this, because this is getting ridiculous,” Jarrett said.

I got to work to get ahold of Cox. First, I found a Facebook page. The most recent post stated Cox closed his office due to a terminal health condition. Then, I found some phone numbers that were disconnected. Eventually, one of my emails, asking Cox about Harden’s will, got through.

I shared his response with Jarrett.

Cox confirmed that he closed his business. Then, told me he does not have Harden’s will in his possession.

“Then where is it?” Jarrett asked.

Cox told me he returned all documents to Jarrett.

“One response was, ‘It was lost in the mail,’ he had to do a search,” Jarrett said. “What’s my next steps if he cannot provide me with that will? Because if it was lost in the mail, we may never see it.”

Cox suggested that Jarrett contact the Cuyahoga County Probate Court, to ask for help in finding a Cuyahoga County attorney to assist in completing any necessary paperwork. I asked Jarrett if she would be okay if that were the case.

“Yeah, I mean… I have no other choice,” she said.

I reached out to Cox again about Jarrett getting some of that retainer back but haven’t heard from him. I also reached out to Franklin County Probate Court for guidance. A chief deputy clerk told me, “If the will cannot be located, an estate can still be opened and assets will be distributed according to Ohio law.” Jarrett said she will look into that option, as well.