Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the angel that was atop the child's grave can contact LPD at 863-834-6900, Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477 or the PCSO at 863-298-6200.
WINTER HAVEN — When Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd learned of a local mother grieving the theft of her child's headstone from a gravesite at Lakeland Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens, he alerted the Polk Sheriffs Charities Inc.
The charity is now donating a permanent granite monument in the memory of Aaliyah Marie Jones.
Judd told The Ledger on Monday that only a "totally worthless human being would steal a monument honoring the memory of a child." Judd said he hopes that the community steps up and provides information as to who stole the angel statue.
Polk Sheriffs Charities Inc. is arranging with the mother, Lauren Carpenter, to pick out the headstone for her child's grave. Aaliyah was just three and a half months old when she died in December 2013 after complications from cystic fibrosis.
"Our community won't stand for that," Judd said of the theft. "The charity is a part of our community and that is why we are going to make this right.“
Carpenter was overjoyed when informed of the donation. "They are going to get us a new headstone," she said.
A time will be set for the event later this week, and a dedication of the marker.
The Lakeland Police Department is lead investigator on the theft. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the angel that was atop the child's grave can contact LPD at 863-834-6900, Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477 or the PCSO at 863-298-6200.
Kathy Leigh Berkowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 863-802-7558. Follow her on Twitter @kberkowitzthel1.