‘It’s heartbreaking’: Statue to remember teacher stolen from local school

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CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio -- A statue was stolen from a teacher's memorial garden at a Cuyahoga Falls school.

The statue and garden honored Eugenia Garman who passed away five years ago.

"That piece was the whole garden. We felt it just symbolized her to a 'T,'" said Denise Mottice, a teacher at Woodridge Primary.

Teachers and staff at the school are shocked someone would take a special colorful peace-sign statue.

"We found this beautiful peace sign that I'd never seen like it before, very colorful which is what Eugenia was; she had colorful hair, her nails; her clothes were always colorful and it didn't matter what color you were. Eugenia taught everybody as individuals," said Mottice.

Back in 2010, a former student who was trying to get his eagle scout's badge recommended creating a garden to pay tribute to Eugenia.

She passed away in 2009. This summer, the memorial garden was re-vitalized with new plants and flowers.

Last weekend, Mottice noticed the peace statue was gone and contacted police.

"It's heartbreaking because these teachers spent so much time and energy paying tribute to their friend and their colleague. It was defeating for them because it kind of took the joy out of a very joyful project," said Beth Harrington, principal at Woodridge Primary School.

"I was very sad and disappointed. It was done out of love for a fellow teacher and I was surprised that somebody would take something that meant so much to our school system," Mottice said.

Cuyahoga Falls police are investigating the robbery but the teachers and staff at Woodridge Primary are hoping the statue will be returned and put back where it belongs.