LODI (CBS13) — It was a devastating blow to people already grieving, as a thief ransacked a Lodi cemetery and took off with personal keepsakes left for loved ones.
CBS13 talked with the first person to discover the cold-hearted crime, a grandpa mourning his grandbaby was forced to grieve all over again. His 18-month old granddaughter Helene died a year ago on his wedding anniversary.READ MORE: Blind Youth Football Player In Modesto Scores Touchdown In Team's Win
“I raised that little girl for 18 months and it’s kind of hard. We have tears every time we come here,” said James Daumer.
Daumer’s visit to his granddaughter’s gravesite is already heartbreaking, but his last visit turned devastating when he walked up on a mess at the Cherokee Memorial Park Cemetery in Lodi.
“It was just heart-wrenching and my stomach just started turning,” he told CBS13. “I mean all these flowers, other than the top row, was (sic) thrown out of their vases.”
San Joaquin County sheriff’s deputies say 33-year-old Rae Kause tore through the cemetery, trashed the flowers and stole personal keepsakes left on headstones and crypts.READ MORE: Pedestrian Suffers Serious Injuries After Being Hit By Car In Sacramento
“We questioned everything, you know, why? What happened? Who done this?” said Daumer.
“What the suspect told our deputies when they were interviewing her was she was upset her family wouldn’t tell her the location of one of her loved one’s graves,” said Deputy Sheriff Nick Goucher.
The Sheriff’s Office posted pictures of what they recovered including rosaries, jewelry and even a baseball glove and ball for a child. They’re hoping to get it all back to the rightful owners.
“So it can be extremely upsetting and everyone can relate to that,” said Deputy Sheriff Goucher.
“We forgive her. She had enough heart to tell them where it was all at,” said Daumer. “What she did was wrong, but you can’t hold it, you know? And I know my granddaughter wouldn’t let me hold it anyhow.”MORE NEWS: Wildfire Smoke Returns To Region As Folsom Renaissance Faire Returns
Daumer was able to get all of little Helene’s keepsakes back, including a personalized Minnie Mouse coin worth $150, but the sheriff’s office still has a lot more items they’re hoping to get back to rightful owners.