ONTARIO, OH (WJW/CNN) – A hidden camera at a cemetery in Ohio catches a thief stealing toys from a baby’s grave.
The heartbroken family says keepsakes they’ve placed on the grave have been going missing for years.
“We’re usually out two times a week, during the holidays and stuff, it’s usually twice a day,” said Jacyln Sheridan.
Jacyln Sheridan of Ontario knows heartache.
“He was 14 months old when he passed away in his crib during a nap time. But he was also a micro-premie, he weighed 1 pound 10 ounces at birth, along with his brother and sister, he’s a triplet,” Sheridan said.
Her son, Hayden, died in 2007. He’s buried at Mansfield Memorial Park.
“About 2009 is when we started noticing things missing,” Sheridan said.
Adding headache to heart break, things just kept disappearing.
“His nickname was “Tank,” his dad gave him that nickname when we left the NICU, and we put Army tanks down, toys, and his dad put a big one on there. That was taken,” Sheridan said.
But the biggest shock came Easter weekend.
“Saturday morning around 9:30, I came and dropped a couple things off for him… And when we came back Sunday morning to lay our cross out, it was gone,” Sheridan said.
“We went over the options and in this case we installed a camera hoping to capture the suspects,” Ontario Police Det. John Sigler said.
But unbeknownst to the person who stole the stuffed duckie, Ontario police had set up a surveillance camera that caught the suspect in the act.
“She walks up to the grave site. She immediately reaches down and picks up the yellow stuffed duck. Shakes off the dirt and walks right away, without any hesitation,” Det. Sigler said.
Ontario police set up the camera just 15 feet away from little Hayden’s grave. And over the years, police say the camera captured multiple suspects take various items from the grave. But never got a crystal clear image, until now.
“We watched this little guy fight for 16 weeks to live. And then when we did lose him, it was shock and devastation. But then to have this happen over and over and over again, it’s like peeling the wound deeper. He was very much loved, he meant everything to us,” Sheridan said.
And while police try to identify the woman, the Sheridans will still decorate little Hayden’s grave.
“His sister realizes something is going on. She’s 8 and she’s questioning why people are stealing off his grave. They take joy in helping us decorate his grave. So they are stealing from them, too,” Sheridan said.
In the meantime, police say the stuffed duckie was recovered. Someone decided to return it by throwing it out a window onto the road near the cemetery.
“Stealing is as low as it gets, in my opinion. But when you come to the graveyard and steal off a baby’s grave. It’s decorated, you know there’s a family that loves this child. I just don’t understand it, don’t understand why,” Sheridan said.
UPDATE: The woman seen in the surveillance video taking a stuffed animal from the grave site has turned herself in to police.
According to Ontario police, Frieda Kay Shade, of Mansfield, then went to the police department, admitting to being the person on video.
Shade claims she’d witnessed a loose dog on the property, and took the stuffed animal to keep the dog from destroying it.