An Ohio woman was charged with stealing items from a baby’s grave after police set up a hidden camera in Mansfield Memorial Park.
Hayden “Tank” Cole Sheridan was born premature on March 9, 2006. His twin sister survived, but Hayden passed away at just 14 months on May 15, 2007. His mother, Jaclyn Sheridan, visits his grave often, tending to it and decorating it.
Saturday afternoon she placed a stuffed animal and a cross made of Easter eggs at the grave. Four hours later the stuffed duck was gone.
This isn’t the first time someone has stolen items from the cemetery, Ontario police said, and Hayden's grave has been targeted multiple times, with the thief taking flowers, wreaths, toy tanks and even lights.
"They've definitely experienced enough theft over the years to make them feel that way," Sigler said of the Sheridans. "In 2012, they noticed some solar lights were gone when all the graves around had theirs."
So police set up a camera on the site, and caught the Easter theft on video.
Frieda Kay Shade, 54, of Mansfield, turned herself in Wednesday night after she was identified by several people, according to Detective Jon Sigler.
Shade claims she took the stuffed duck because there was dog roaming the area, which would have destroyed the toy. Her attorney, Charles Robinson, said she will plead not guilty to one count of theft, a first-degree misdemeanor.
"The video is there, we're not denying that. But video evidence does not show what a person is thinking. There are mitigating circumstances," Robinson said. "We all have sympathy for a child who has expired. We know how hard that is, and we sympathize with that."
"I have no idea yet how I feel about (the arrest)," said the boy’s father, Scott Sheridan. "I'm kind of in shock and have had no chance to think about it."
"We should be able to decorate his resting spot and leave things on his grave during the time we're allowed," Jaclyn Sheridan said.
Her husband said they will continue to do so.
"Oh, yeah," he said. "That way we feel we're including him even though he's passed away. We feel this is the one spot where we can do that."
Shade is scheduled to appear in an Ontario court May 8.