Ontario, Ohio, authorities are seeking the identity of a woman who stole toys from a baby’s grave. Hayden “Tank” Cole Sheridan, age 14 months, died in 2007. Hayden’s parents, Scott and Jaclyn Sheridan, regularly visit and decorate their late son’s grave. Unfortunately, a thief has been stealing the toys and decor.
Ontario Police Detective Jon Sigler said the thief, or thieves, have stolen solar-powered lights, flowers, wreaths, and toys. As the thefts have continued for six years, police installed a surveillance camera at the Mansfield Memorial Park.
Authorities recorded numerous images throughout the last two years. Although many visitors were clearly paying their respects, others were filmed stealing toys from the baby’s grave. Unfortunately the footage was not clear enough to identify a suspect.
Last Saturday, Scott and Jaclyn visited Hayden’s gravesite. They placed a stuffed duck on the grave to celebrate Easter. When they returned the following morning, the toy was gone.
Jaclyn said she feels like thieves “are targeting his gravesite.” She believes she and her husband “should be able to decorate his resting spot and leave things on his grave” without worrying about vandals.
On Saturday, authorities finally captured surveillance footage, which may help identify a thief. In the clip, a woman is clearly pictured stealing the Easter toy from the baby’s grave. Although the suspect was not identified, authorities have released the footage.
On their “Facebook” page, the Ontario Police Department explained that they simply want the Sheridan family to have “some assurance that they can leave a night light and a stuffed animal at their son’s grave without someone stealing it.”
As reported by Mansfield News Journal, it is unclear whether the thefts were committed by one, or several, suspects. However, authorities are currently seeking information about the woman who stole the Easter duck.
Detective Sigler said he believes the woman attempted to return the duck, as someone later threw “the stuffed animal out the window of a vehicle along the cemetery property.” Although the Easter duck was eventually returned to the Sheridans, police are still seeking the woman’s identity.
Anyone with information about the woman’s identity, or the continued theft from the baby’s grave, is encouraged to contact the Ontario Police Department at 419-529-2115. The Sheridans simply want to grieve for their son in peace, without the constant threat of theft from the gravesite.
It is difficult to imagine what prompted the thief, or thieves, to steal toys from the baby’s grave. Jaclyn said that despite the criminal activity, she will continue decorating Hayden’s gravesite during the holidays.
[Images via Mansfield News Journal]