PEABODY (CBS) – More than a dozen figurines stolen from a 10-year-old’s grave were returned this week.
Annmarie Scheiding visits her daughter, Stephanie, at Oak Grove Cemetery in Peabody nearly every day. Scheiding says her frequent visits help her stay connected with her little girl, who died of cancer in 2003. Stephanie’s headstone is usually packed with a garden of mementos from friends, teachers and family members.
The collection built for 10 years before it disappeared on June 29.
“Never in my wildest imagination did I expect to see the whole collection taken. I was devastated. I just stood there and cried,” said Scheiding.
Scheiding left a note for the thief saying she would pray for his soul. When word spread that the items were missing, strangers began offering to replace angel figurines.
As the collection rebuilt, a brown paper bag tied with twine appeared at the headstone on July 4. Wet from the rain, it looked like trash to Scheiding until she noticed an angel wing peeking over the top. All of Stephanie’s treasures had been returned.
“I know in my heart that they were stolen but my daughter was such a strong person. She forgave everybody,” said Scheiding. “My husband had said ‘They had to go and help some other lost soul and now they’re back. They did their job and they came back.’”
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