Police in central Maine are trying to figure out who vandalized a six-year-old girl’s grave twice in the last week.
Young Avery Lane was just six years old in 2010 when she died after a bout with influenza. Her gravesite is at the Friends Cemetery in Fairfield, Maine right next to the Fairfield Friends Meeting House. Members of the “Friends” community are commonly called Quakers.
Lane’s grave is decorated with wind chimes, pinwheels, and flowers. Her parents say the grave is the only decorated one in the cemetery, which serves as the gravesite for many Quakers from the Fairfield community. Quakers value simplicity in all areas of life, which has led some in the Fairfield community to wonder if the decorations adorning their daughter’s grave are the reason for the vandalism. In addition to the two instances of vandalism this week, Lane’s grave was vandalized last year as well.
Fairfield Police Chief Thomas Gould spoke to Mail Online about the vandalism.
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“It’s the grave of a young child. It’s seen as a heartless thing. People are upset because this woman lost her child at a very young age and then has to go through this,” Chief Gould said.
When reached for comment, former Quaker pastor Paul Cates confirmed that the decorated site flies in the face of Quaker values.
“We don’t have anything like that in our cemetery,” Cates said. “The idea of decorating with pinwheels and toys and stuff like that is not in the tradition of the Friends.”
A local sheriff's deputy put out a $250 reward for any information leading to the offender’s arrest. A number of radio stations have publicized the vandalism, and donations have now raised the reward to over $1,800.