Angel returns to Peterborough cemetery

  • J.W> and Carrie Cox with angel statue at Pine Hill Cemetery<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    J.W> and Carrie Cox with angel statue at Pine Hill Cemetery

    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • J.W> and Carrie Cox with angel statue at Pine Hill Cemetery<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    J.W> and Carrie Cox with angel statue at Pine Hill Cemetery

    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • J.W> and Carrie Cox with angel statue at Pine Hill Cemetery<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    J.W> and Carrie Cox with angel statue at Pine Hill Cemetery

    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • J.W> and Carrie Cox with angel statue at Pine Hill Cemetery<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • J.W> and Carrie Cox with angel statue at Pine Hill Cemetery<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • J.W> and Carrie Cox with angel statue at Pine Hill Cemetery<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

PETERBOROUGH — In July, a small stone angel placed by J.W. and Carrie Cox of Burke Road at a family plot in upper Pine Hill Cemetery vanished. The concrete sculpture, which stands about two-feet tall, had been placed by Carrie and her grandmother, Carol Gates, about four years earlier. J.W. discovered the loss when he stopped to visit the site and the couple were convinced the angel, which wasn’t firmly anchored into the ground, had been stolen. They went public about the loss, asking for the angel’s return and promising no questions would be asked.

They heard nothing for months. But in November, when J.W. went to the Town House to vote on Election Day, Peterborough Police Capt. Ernie Belletete suggested he drive up to the cemetery again.

“Sure enough, it was there. Right back in the same spot,” J.W. said last week, as he and Carrie admired the recovered angel that sits next to the lilac tree planted on the family plot. “We really didn’t think we were ever going to get it back.”

According to Belletete, the Coxes reported the loss in early September, about the time an article about the angel appeared in the Ledger-Transcript.

“We received a lead based on the news story,” Belletete said last week. “We got information about a possible suspect who lives out of state.”

J.W. said there had once been a very similar statue at a plot in the lower section of the cemetery, and police suspected the owner of that plot might have taken the angel belonging to the Coxes.

“She somehow became convinced that this one was hers,” J.W. said.

He said the woman lives out of state and didn’t respond to letters from the cemetery committee. Eventually, Belletete called her directly and talked to her about the situation.

“There was some question. She was saying it belonged to her,” Belletete said.

But not long after that conversation, the angel reappeared.

“How it got back, we don’t know. Who took it initially, we don’t know,” said Belletete. “Our effort was to get it back.”

He said no charges are being filed and the case is now closed.

“Somebody put it back,” J.W. said. “We don’t know who, but we’re glad to have it. We really want to thank Ernie for his work on this and to thank the Cemetery Committee. They were actually going to buy us another one.”

“We really didn’t think we’d ever get it back,” said Carrie Cox. “We had many people coming up to support us. We were overwhelmed. I’m so thankful that it’s here again.”

The angel has great sentimental value to Carrie, as it was one of the final additions her grandmother, Carol Gates, made to the plot.

“We really hope to get this the way she wanted,” Carrie said. “My uncle is here, and my great-grandmother and great-grandfather.”

The Coxes plan to take the angel to be engraved, so there will be no chance of a future misunderstanding. J.W. suggested making sure any monuments or statues at a cemetery have identification.

“If it’s not latched to the ground, personalize it,” he said.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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