Statue stolen from gravesite, family wants it back

UPDATED: August 18 at 5:45 p.m

It's a happy ending to a story that shocked and disappointed people across the Tri-States.

Judy Reid wipes away tears of joy these days instead of tears of loss.

Reid said, "Its a happy story now."

It wasn't always this way. A month ago someone stole a memorial like this one from the grave of her brother Vietnam Veteran Rodney Sparrow.

But Thursday that gravesite was restored and in better condition, thanks to the generosity of two Tri-State businesses. Smith Garden Center and Landscaping from Macomb made a duplicate monument and delivered it.

Reid said, "When I went to that graveyard and saw that empty spot, it left an empty hole in my heart. But after it aired, I got the call that they had stayed up all night making a new statue, just for my brother, that hole mended immediately."

Brandon Smith said, "We were watching the news and when the story came on, we realized it was someone who had stolen something for the cemetery. Then we realized it was one of our monuments. We thought it was the easiest way to help out."

The story just got better, as Gem City Monument in Quincy offered to construct a base to anchor the monument to the gravesite.

Dwight Hibbard with Gem City Memorials said, "It's sad to think someone would walk off with something from a cemetery, but when we heard about it, we were trying to figure out a way to anchor it. I'm not saying it can't be taken out, but it will be harder than it was before."

Reid said, ""I was overwhelmed with how good people can be.I don't know how to thank them but they'll always be in my prayers."

When Quincy Mayor John Spring heard about the generosity of the two companies, he wanted to recognize them for their efforts. Today the two businesses received the key to the city.

Spring said, "Which signifies that we appreciate what they've done for the family and for the community."

And it's that warm feeling of a community coming together that Reid and her family will feel each time they visit her brother's final resting place.

Reid said, "My brother is at peace."

Sparrow died of cancer back in April.

UPDATED: August 2 at 11:45 a.m.

Quincy Mayor John Spring plans to give both the Smith Garden Center and Landscaping INC. in Macomb and Gem City Memorial in Quincy, keys to the city for their efforts in helping this family.

The ceremony will take place in a couple of weeks.


UPDATED: July 29 at 11:30 a.m.

Smith Garden Center and Landscaping, INC donated and dropped off a new statue for the family at our studio.

Tegan Orpet called the family and delivered it to them Friday afternoon.

They where excited and humbled by the donation and are very thankful to the Smith Garden Center to doing this.

Gem City Memorial in Quincy also stepped up and are going to mount the statue on the stone for the family.


Cemetery's are memorials honoring loved ones. It's a place to visit, share memories, cry and even sit, remembering that great person.

It's senseless acts of vandalism that just add more heartache for families when memorial are stolen.

We spoke with Judy Reid, who is not only grieving the loss of her brother but now grieving the loss of the memorial she created for him.

The statue was taken sometime between Sunday evening and Monday evening from Greenmount Cemetery in Quincy.

This is not the first time something has been stolen from the site.

Ried says she's not sure why someone would take it, but she wants the statue back.

Greenmount opens at dawn and closes at dusk so whom ever took it either jumped the fence at night or took it in broad daylight.

The statue was over 100 pounds, so it was not an easy move.

Reid and her family are praying the statue gets returned because finding another one just like it will be hard to find and costly.

She contacted the police department but if you have any information on the statue you can call them or Reid her home at 224-5373.

She even said that she would have an award for information or the return of the statue.

Megan Tischer wrote on our Facebook wall, "Someone seriously stole this? what is wrong with you people!!!??? i hope they return it soon. idiots."

"Unforgivable," is the only thing Dan Musholt could post.

Molly Humphrey Brown posted, "I have a daughter that is buried out there and we have also had items stolen from her grave....It is a SAD world we live in! It breaks my heart that I have to make a decision on whether or not to buy something for her based on the fear of someone stealing it!"

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