GREENE CO, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Missing a loved one who’s passed away is always difficult this time of year. But, this holiday season presented even more challenges to some grieving families in Greene County as officials report an increase in grave thefts and vandalizations.
Authorities said most graves of this crime are those of children.
For two local mothers, it is the last thing they would have ever expected.
In mid-December, Tera Orman was told by family members that her daughter Madi Moore’s grave had been vandalized. Her keepsakes and Christmas decorations were stolen, as well as a princess crown.
To learn more about Madi’s life and journey, click on this link.
“Initially obviously I was very angry,” Orman said. “A mixture of anger and just being violated, disrespected. I was very hurt, just heart broken.”
Fifteen miles away in Bloomfield, Ind., Amber Orman’s son’s grave has been hit by thefts twice.
Items near Gavin Resler’s grave, including a lamplight, Christmas tree and solar lights, were all stolen.
“I worried about it for the last three years about someone stealing something off of his grave but I never really thought that it would happen,” Orman said. “But it happened, and right around Christmas is worse.”
The Greene County Sheriff’s Department confirmed to MyWabashValley.com that three grave vandalizations have been reported in the county.
“We’re not big on coincidence, but we’ve not developed a connection,” Chief Deputy Major George Dallaire said. “We can’t come up with anything that links the three different graves.”
Dallaire added that the Sheriff’s Department has been asked to send extra patrols to cemeteries in Linton, Ind.
“This crime shouldn’t sit well with anyone,” he said. “For the family members, they already lost someone they thought they would have for many more holidays. Someone has the gall to steal those decorations. I can only imagine how the families feel.”
Authorities said most incidents involve decorations being taken, including lights and festive-themed items.
“They’re not taking high-monetary things,” Dallaire said.
Despite the fear of a potential second incident happening, Madi’s family said they are choosing to redecorate her grave.
“I can’t live in fear, we’re not going to let them win,” Orman said. “We will honor our daughter how we need to.”
The Orman’s are offering a reward for any information connected to the vandalization of Madi’s grave. Tips can be sent to her Facebook profile under the name, “Tera Orman.”
Orman, who also has a reward out for any information regarding her son’s case, said there are many questions still unanswered.
“Why would you want to take stuff off of a child’s grave,” she said. “To hurt someone?”
Information regarding the vandalizations can also be shared with the Greene County Sheriff’s Department at (812) 384-4411.
All residents in the Greene County area are being encouraged to visit their loved ones’ gravesites and check for any suspicious activity.