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Utah mom says items continuously being stolen from son's gravesite

Posted at 9:52 PM, Aug 09, 2022

CLINTON, Utah — A Davis County mother is calling on the city to step up and do something after things keep getting stolen off her son’s grave.

Every time Michelle Walke visits the city cemetery, she feels close to her son, Colter.

“This is where we come to visit and just make sure that we can still feel part of him,” she said.

Everything she does for her son is intentional, from trinkets and decorations to the details on his headstone.

“He loved Halloween. He loved Batman, four-wheeling, camping, fishing,” she said. “Everything here is 100% him.”

The 11-year-old boy went to bed two years ago and never woke up. They still don’t know what happened.

To add to the weight of their loss, for the past year-and-a-half, Walke has had to file multiple police reports in hopes of catching the thieves stealing from Colter’s grave.

She said it’s not about the money, but the meaning.

“It’s just material things but it’s more than that to the family who's lost their loved one,” she said.

Every holiday and every month, she places new decorations to include Colter in the celebrations. He didn’t like the dark, so she buys extravagant lights just for him.

“We try to have it festive and look good, and we just feel violated,” Walke said.

She contacted the city and said she was told they couldn’t do much. She said she recommended security cameras, but the idea was shot down. She was told to file a police report since the site is considered private property.

Lt. Matt Fawbush with the Clinton City Police Department said they’ve received five police reports in the last 18 months. The most recent report of theft came in on Tuesday.

“We do drive by the cemetery on a daily basis,” he said. “Once we get these reports, we do request extra patrol.”

The city mows and landscapes the cemetery grounds on Thursdays. Anything that is in the way of that, they remove off the gravesites. Those objects aren’t thrown away but instead moved to a location where loved ones can pick them up and return them to the original spot.

Walke believes the city is not to blame for the missing lights. Her family clears off the grave every Wednesday and redecorates once landscaping is done.

She said she knows of other families who are also missing meaningful objects.

“How could you do that? Why? There’s no point in coming and taking from somebody who is no longer here,” she said.

Walke refuses to let the culprits stop her from caring for her son. She intends to continue decorating and hopes the thieves will have a change of heart.