CRESTVIEW — Jolene Parker Patterson laid her infant son, Joshua Devin Kroll II, to rest in 2005.
Since then, family members have placed several items — a small marble bench, floral arrangements, angel figurines and shepherd's hooks — at Joshua's Old Bethel Cemetery gravesite. Some items weren't cheap, but all were sentimental, and they recently went missing.
Patterson, who visits her son's grave monthly with family members, says the thefts compound her grief.
"It's very hurtful to those that have lost someone," she said. "We have no other way to give them anything. This is our human way of expressing that."
Two miniature Precious Moments angels particularly hold sentimental value for Patterson. Kroll was 2 months old when he succumbed to sudden infant death syndrome. A family member placed the two angels on his grave shortly after he died.
"I would really like to have those back," Patterson said.
Joyce Parker, Jolene's grandmother, said she was devastated after learning a Christmas-themed synthetic floral arrangement went missing.
"I was heartbroken because it was all for him," she said.
Parker, 64, said she spent $50 on the flower arrangement — a significant amount for someone on a fixed income.
Christopher Patterson, Jolene's husband, said the thefts baffle him.
"I just don't get it ... how someone could do something like that," he said. "It's not just about the monetary value. The value is sentimental."
The incident at Kroll's grave isn't isolated. Last month, resident Tyler Peaden said thieves stole Christmas decorations from his daughter, Alana's, private grave near Old Bethel Cemetery.
The thefts concern Parker, but haven't deterred her from giving gifts to her great-grandson.
She also hopes those responsible will be caught.
"God knows who did this, and he will deal with them in the end," she said.