Stark County mother pleads for vandal to stop stealing from daughter's grave

PLAIN TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) - It's been almost six years since Grace Koontz passed away, but her mother still strives to keep her memory alive at Henry Warstler Cemetery.

"She couldn't hear real well and she loved to hear the wind and the music from the wind chimes and the solar lights because she didn't like the dark," said Kathy Koontz.

But just a few days before Easter, Kathy visited Grace's grave site and noticed the things she and others placed there were gone.

"Everything, they took the double Shepard's hook, the wind chimes, they took everything from it," she said. "I was crushed. really crushed and hurt. She's very precious and her things are very precious."

Kathy says this isn't the first time this has happened, so that's why she and her husband decided to file a report with the Stark County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies are investigating the theft.

"We know she's in heaven, and but they're just memories and we like to keep her memory alive and very hurt to think someone would do something like that," said Koontz.

Grace died in 2012 from CMV, a virus she contracted from her birth mother. Her adopted mother Kathy says doctors told her Grace wouldn't survive a year but the little girl lived life to the fullest until she died at age 7.

"She broke all odds, she was joyful, she did see, she did hear some, sometimes, she couldn't walk but she did talk some, just loved life, loved life and was a fighter, loved her brothers and her sisters."

The family wants to replace the items at her grave site, but they're nervous about someone taking them again.

"We're praying for whoever decided to do this and we forgive them and the things that they took, maybe they'll enjoy them and will bring joy to them too," said Kathy.

If you know anything about the thefts, please call the Stark County Sheriff's Office at 330-430-3800.

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