Ontario police have made an arrest in the grave robbing case in Ohio discussed earlier. The police had succeeded in capturing the image of a woman stealing a toy off the grave of a dead infant. A number of such toys had been stolen off the grave of Hayden “Tank” Cole Sheridan. As expected, various people came forward and identified Frieda Kay Shade, 54, of Mansfield. She turned herself into police.
Tank died in 2007 at only 14 months. The family routinely left toys at the grave site. However, someone has been appearing shortly after such visits and stealing the toys. The police thankfully did not shrug off the complaint and set up the hidden camera. They did a terrific job. On April 19th, they nailed a woman removing a stuffed duck and are now seeking people to help identify the culprit from photos and a video. This have been going on since 2012.
They released this video of the alleged culprit.
Shade insisted that she took a stuffed toy animal from the grave of Hayden “Tank” Cole Sheridan because a dog was running loose in the area and she didn’t want it to destroy the toy. It is not the clear why she did not return the toy. Police seem to have the same uncertainty and charged her with one count of theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. Notably, they did not charge her with grave desecration, as discussed earlier.
Her lawyer Charles Robinson noted that “We all have sympathy for a child who has expired. We know how hard that is, and we sympathize with that.” It might be a tad better not to refer to the baby “expiring” to add a more sympathetic note.
One potential problem is that this is not Shade’s first arrest. She has faces charges for passing bad checks, unauthorized use of property and evictions. Shade also has two open cases related to state taxes. Those matters could come up in any sentencing, though this is a misdemeanor offense with a short likely sentence.
The big question remains: what happened to the stuffed duck? It is rather curious to take the duck to keep a dog from taking it . . . only to keep it. The news accounts do not shed light on what caused the police to reject her claim.