Cemetery statue’s missing head returned after more than two decades

The head of an Italian marble statue in a New Brunswick cemetery was left next to the monument more than two decades after it was stolen.

Jennie Steeves died at age 15 in 1900, and her mother had an Italian marble statue erected in her honor at the family’s plot in Gray’s Island Cemetery in Hillsborough in 1930.

The statue was subject to numerous acts of vandalism in the ensuing decades, and in the 1990s, the head disappeared, family members said.

Kathleen Wallace, whose father was the nephew of Steeve’s mother, said the statue had long been the subject of local superstitions.

“There were all kinds of stories told about the monument — that it was haunted, that the eyes had rubies in them — but none of that is true,” Wallace told CBC News. “It was just put there for the family plot and especially in memory of Jennie.”

Wallace said she and her sister filed police reports and offered rewards for the head’s return when it was taken in the 1990s, but the disappearance remained a mystery.

Wallace said she was shocked when she saw a recent Facebook photo of the statue.

“It showed the statue with the head beside it, that the head had been returned,” she said.

The cemetery’s keeper brought the head to Wallace’s home for safekeeping.

Wallace and her sister, Patricia, said a relative of the person who created the statue has offered to restore it to its original condition.

“We are so happy to have the head back,” Patricia Wallace said in a Facebook post.

The sisters said they do not have any clues about where the head has been for the past two decades.

“It was really kind of a miracle,” Kathleen Wallace said. “It remains a mystery, somebody maybe had a guilty conscience.”