Irreplaceable hippo stolen from young girl's grave
HUDSON, Mass. (WHDH) -- A heartless crime has a local family pleading for the return of a purple hippo, which stood at the grave of their daughter who lost her battle with cancer.
“Wherever Erin was, hippo was,” said Michelle Roderick, Erin’s mother.
The Roderick family has an album full of memories -- their daughter, Erin, and her beloved hippo at her side in almost every photo.
“Hippo was just like another member of our family. We should have probably gotten it its own car seat,” said Michelle Roderick.
When Erin died from a brain tumor a few months before her fifth birthday, her hippo was buried with her.
“The hippo has been with her throughout her entire four-year journey of cancer. It went to chemotherapy treatments with her. It went to radiation treatments with her,” said Michelle Roderick.
Four years after her death, a small graveside statue -- a purple plastic dancing hippo -- put a smile on Erin’s family’s faces, until it suddenly disappeared.
“It’s hard. We just want it back,” said Jim Roderick, Erin’s dad.
“It made me mad. It really made me angry and upset and hurt,” said Michelle Roderick.
The Roderick’s noticed it was gone on what would have been Erin’s ninth birthday. After asking the cemetery where it could be, they think someone stole it.
“She must be up there saying, like, saying I want that hippo back,” said Jack Roderick, Erin’s brother.
They know the purple plastic hippo doesn’t have any monetary value, but it means a lot to them.
“It’s hard enough to lose a child, never mind to lose something that meant so much to us after her passing,” said Michelle Roderick.
The hippo statue was a gift from a friend. The family doesn’t know how to replace it, so they are asking whoever took it to return it.