Oologah family deals with a statue theft at a Collinsville cemetery

Thursday, December 2nd 2004, 10:08 am
By: News On 6

A family's sadness over losing a newborn baby has now turned to anger and disgust. News on 6 anchor Craig Day says cemeteries are supposed to be sacred places of respect and peace.

That has changed for one northeast Oklahoma family. They say what happened to them is one of the cruelest things that can ever happen to a parent.

Two years ago, Rae Sutton of Oologah found out the baby she was carrying had a rare disorder. She carried the baby two more months, knowing he wouldn't live past birth and planning for the baby's funeral. "You think at the end of a pregnancy, you are going to have a child. Not a funeral. He was born on August 26th of 2002 and kicked up until the last minute and then he was still born once he was detached from me."

Baby Ryver, was buried right next to his grandfather at Collinsville's Ridge Lawn cemetery. A sleeping angel statue watched over him. “He was still with us; we were carrying him when we bought that statue. So it's like he helped to pick it out."

But when Rae and her family came to Ryver's gravesite the week of Thanksgiving, the statue was gone. "I just can't fathom the evil that somebody would think to steal something from a grave is bad enough. But to steal something from a baby's grave right at Christmas. I don't understand how somebody could even think to do something like that."

To the Sutton's, the gravesite is sacred ground. Rae says what makes what happened even worse is explaining to her four year old daughter that someone was so mean, they would steal from her little brothers gravesite. "It was hard. It's still hard. It just kills me to come here and it not be here. It looks empty to me because it was a beautiful statue. It just kills me that it is not there."

Sutton feels violated, angry but most of all hurt. When thieves took Ryver’s statue, they also took a piece of a mothers' heart.

If you can help investigators, call Collinsville Police Department at 918-371-1000. The Sutton's pray they get the statue back by Christmas.