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Family shocked personal items stolen from mother’s resting place at Lakeside Cemetery
The family of a woman buried at the Lakeside Cemetery in Osoyoos is asking the thief or thieves who stole cherished items from their mother’s headstone to do the right thing and return them.
“We would just like these items returned, no questions asked,” said Gail Harvey, whose mother Joyce passed away this past June 9. Her family interred her ashes at Lakeside Cemetery several days later.
Some time between Sept. 20 and the first week in October, someone stole a small angel and solar lamp that had been placed near her mother’s headstone.
“We sincerely hope that whoever is responsible for this act of vandalism has enjoyed these mementos, perhaps in their garden, but we ask that they respectfully return them to our mother’s final resting spot,” she said. “We trust they have come to realize the error of their actions and will do what they know is right. It would be very much appreciated.”
Her mother had lived in Osoyoos for just over 30 years and “loved this community” and the family didn’t think twice about interring her ashes at Lakeside Cemetery, even though all four of Harvey’s children don’t live in this area, said Gail, who resides in Vernon.
“She loved Osoyoos and she made it clear this is where she wanted (her remains) to be,” she said.
Her mother was “a beautiful person” and she and her siblings wanted her final resting place to be beautiful, so they purchased the solar lamp and small angel so they could visit at night and say hello, she said.
“The solar lamp lights up at night and casts a warm glow all around,” she said.
Family members were shocked when they visited in late August and discovered the lamp and angel had been stolen.
“You would like to believe that a graveyard is a sacred place and that no one would steal anything, but that’s obviously not the case,” she said. “They are only small items, but they hold a lot of sentimental value and it has been pretty hard having to deal with the fact somebody would steal something like that from a graveyard site.”
When she first noticed the angel and lamp were missing, she contacted her three brothers and sisters – two who live in Toronto, one in Ottawa and one in Hong Kong – and they urged her to contact police. However, she was informed RCMP won’t receive official complaints by email and she couldn’t take time off work to visit Osoyoos from Vernon.
She did officially contact RCMP about the stolen items after contacting the Osoyoos Times in the middle of last week.
She also visited town hall to see if perhaps a bylaw enforcement officer might have removed the items if she and her family had unintentionally contravened town bylaws, but found out that wasn’t the case.
Harvey said she and her brothers and sisters remain hopeful whoever is responsible will return the items.
“We just ask them to think about what they have done and just return them and no one will ever find out,” she said. “We don’t want to know who took them or why but we would like them returned. This has been upsetting for our family and my mother doesn’t deserve this.”
Staff at Lakeside Cemetery do a wonderful job keeping it clean and green and her family had not had any bad experiences while visiting their mother until thieves took these deeply personal items, she said.
If the items aren’t returned, the family will be purchasing another solar lamp in the spring so they can continue to visit their mother during the late evening hours, she said.