South side family hopes thieves will return memorial butterfly bench


GREENWOOD, Ind. – A mother on the south side says it feels like a piece of her heart is missing. That’s after she says someone stole a memorial right out of her front yard that honored her son.

As you passed Tonya Caplinger’s home one of the first things you would notice in her front yard, would be a blue, butterfly bench sitting near the road.

Picture provided by Tonya Caplinger

“It’s something that made me smile every time I went in and out,” said Tonya Caplinger, “It wasn’t just a bench. It’s my sons memorial.”

She’s still in shock that someone stole the memorial out of her yard the day after Christmas. The memorial was for her 19-year-old son, Kevin, who passed away three years ago from a virus.

“The kid never lost faith in humanity. He was just a good kid,” said Caplinger.

Caplinger’s nickname for her son was butterfly and his favorite color was blue, which made this bench in her yard that much more meaningful.

“If it was a headstone, would you have stolen it? Asked Caplinger, “Because that’s what it was for my yard. I’m not going to put a headstone here for my son, but this was his last home.”

Picture provided by Tonya Caplinger

After speaking with police, Caplinger says they have proof someone backed into their driveway, loaded up the bench and drove off. She hopes by sharing her story someone will realize what they did was wrong.

“It has no value to anyone. I paid $80 for the bench and I’m offering a $100 reward, because it’s not about the bench,” Caplinger said, “It’s about what I put on my property to memorialize my son.”

Caplinger says every morning the first thing she does is get in her car to drive down and see if someone brought the bench back. Her hope is soon, it will be returned.

“No questions asked. Just bring the bench back,” Caplinger pleaded.

If you know anything about the stolen memorial, call police.

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