Stolen memorial bench from church causes family heartache

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EAGLE ROCK, Va. (WDBJ) — "It was just like reopening the grief. You know, you heal from grief a little bit at a time, but that, it's just brought it all back to the whole family," said Terry Tucker.

Photo courtesy Terry Tucker

It's been a rough 48 hours for Tucker and her family. Sunday morning, a friend discovered that a bench with the name Bonnie Caldwell was missing from its normal spot outside Galatia Presbyterian Church in Eagle Rock.

Bonnie Caldwell was Terry's late mother.

"Good country woman, had lived in Botetourt her entire life. Until she was 70 years old, she lived in the same house," said Tucker.

Caldwell also highly valued her church. It's where she is buried. So to honor her, her family designed a bench with butterflies on it at Twist and Turn in Roanoke, just a few months after Caldwell's death in 2015.

"Heavy metal bench, seats probably three adults, and we put it in at the entrance of the church, and daddy put it on blocks and kind of keeps mulch around it and everything," said Tucker.

But sometime between Friday night and Sunday morning, the bench was taken from its spot. Sunday afternoon, Tucker turned to Facebook.

"368 people shared it, people I don't even know, because really I just put it on there for the local people to see it and that makes you realize there really are a lot more good people in the world than there is bad," said Tucker.

While many people have commented ideas, the bench is still missing. January will make the official five-year mark of Terry's mom's passing, which makes the whole ordeal that much harder.

But the family hasn't given up that maybe a good person will shine through, and maybe the memory of Bonnie will continue to have something tangible.

A police report has been filed with the Botetourt County Sheriff's Office. It's currently an active investigation and according to the sheriff's office, there will be more patrols in the area, as a grill was also stolen from church property last week.

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