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Disney Replaces Hippo Statue Stolen From Hudson Girl’s Grave

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Christina Hager Christina Hager
Award-winning reporter Christina Hager works as a general assignmen...
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HUDSON (CBS) – You could call it a lesson in good versus evil.

In June, WBZ reported the story of a Hudson mother looking for a statue stolen from her young daughter’s grave. It was a purple hippo made by Disney, placed as a reminder of the toddler’s beloved stuffed hippo she carried with her through a rigorous program of cancer treatments. “She loved that hippo with everything she had,” said her mother, Michelle Roderick. “It was like a sibling to her.”

Erin Roderick passed away when she was only four-years-old. She was buried with her stuffed hippo. Then the statue version mysteriously disappeared. “I still can’t get over the fact that someone took her statue from her grave,” said her mother. To make matters worse Disney had discontinued it, so it was irreplaceable.

Today, the Rodericks have suddenly gone from zero to three hippos. The public was so moved by their story, people scoured the Internet to find a replacement. A local woman tracked one down and brought it to an auto body shop to paint purple. Someone else had one shipped from Hawaii. Then Disney found the original mold, and had a special one custom-made for the family. “The lesson that I learned was that the good people far outweigh the bad people in this world,” said Michelle Roderick.

The Rodericks will not leave their new hippos in the cemetery, for fear they’ll be stolen like the first one. But Erin’s mom is smiling again. “I hadn’t smiled since the original hippo had been taken. Every day I come down the stairs in the morning and now I see the hippo there, and it brings a smile to my face because it reminds me so much of my daughter.”

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