Grieving mother pleads for robbers to stop targeting daughter’s grave

CANTON, Ohio - An act of hate on what is supposed to be sacred ground.

"Grace was a joy. She giggled, she laughed, she brought joy to everyone."

Mother Kathy Koontz of Canton says it was just before Easter when the theft was discovered.

She went to place a stuffed animal on her 7-year-old daughter Grace’s headstone, at the Henry Wartsler Cemetery in Northeast Canton.

That is when she noticed sentimental items, placed here earlier, were gone, including her beloved doll, a string of solar lights because she didn’t like the dark, and her favorite wind chimes.

Koontz says, "I was awestricken, kind of took me down to my knees because I just couldn't believe somebody would take everything of hers. Her doll was there, the one she took a bite out of her toe."

Grace was born with a rare virus that affected her brain. She wasn’t expected to live past her first year of life.

But her parents, who adopted her at birth, say she fought for seven years, until the end.

"She crawled, she did talk a little bit, but she was affected all over pretty much from it."

Koontz did file a police report, since this was the second time sentimental items have been stolen from her daughter’s headstone.

She says the owners of the cemetery are friends and would never discard her gifts to her daughter.

As for security, she says they will be adding more lighting to the area where the headstone is located.

For the thieves who have yet to be caught, Kathy has this message:  "I know she's in heaven we know she's not hurting or anything anymore. But they were precious, her doll was very precious to us. Just think before you do it. Don't do it anymore please."