Flowers stolen from baby's grave

Flowers stolen from baby's grave
MILTON-FREEWATER, Ore. -- A heartless crime that's hurting a Milton-Freewater mom: Someone is stealing flowers off the grave of her dead child. The family has replaced the flowers, only to have them disappear again.

Sharame Marlatt makes her way through the Milton-Freewater Cemetery. She comes to pay her respects to her daughter, Emilynn. The toddler died from a blood infection when she was just two years old.

"It was very, very unexpected for our family," Sharame said.

But to add insult to injury, just last week, someone swiped the personalized flowerpot from her daughter's headstone during the night. It had her name, birth date and what Sharame calls her "heaven date" etched on it.

"My heart just sunk when I was driving up here and I saw that it wasn't here," she added.

Sharame bought more flowers, but the following day, they were gone again.

"I can't buy her toys for her birthday, I will never be able to buy her a car or a prom dress or a wedding dress," Sharame said. "I can buy her flowers, and for someone to take that from my family, I don't understand how they did that."

The manager of the cemetery says this crime is hard to stop.

"Almost every year, we do have some theft of cemetery flowers," said Cliff McReynolds.

Over the weekend, cemeteries in nearby Walla Walla and College Place reported similar thefts.

Reporter: "Why not string up some cameras or put in some security measures out here?"
Cliff McReynolds: "We just don't have the funds to do that, as well as the Internet."

The cemetery lies just outside the city limits. They rely on sheriff's units to patrol. As for Sharame, she's taking matters into her own hands to protect the now third centerpiece meant to grace her daughter's grave.

"I've got a group of people that are willing to sit out here till the wee hours of the morning to protect everybody else's flowers," Sharame said.

She leaves a laminated note in Emma's new flowers, pleading with a potential thief to know how they're hurting her family.

"Maybe they won't even read it, but if I can do everything that I can do to let these people know that we don't put flowers up here because they look nice," she said. "We put flowers up here for a reason."

Cemetery managers say the cost to outfit the entire cemetery would be almost $10,000.