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Family of girl who died finds her headstone overturned and damaged


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    HILLSIDE, Illinois (WBBM) — For 23 years, the gravesite of an 11-year-old girl sat undisturbed – a peaceful place for her family to honor her memory.

But recently, something disturbing happened at her final resting place in Hillside. And as CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported Thursday night, the girl’s loved ones are now in a fight to fix what’s broken.

“I’m OK, but I still hurt,” said Edna Marie Brown.

Brown lost her daughter, Shenita Williard, 23 years ago. Heart issues claimed her at just 11 years old, but this story is about her resting place.

“It’s real important!” Brown said. “I come on her birthday, and sometimes just come every now and then.”

Edna met us at Oakridge-Glen Oaks Cemetery in Hillside to share what her sister says she found at Shenita’s plot two months ago.

“I came back out here in March, the beginning of March, and it was gone,” Brown said.

“It” is the headstone. Pictures from Demetric Brown – Edna Marie’s sister and Shenita’s aunt – show the stone off its base. She looked across the rows and later found it face down, far from its spot.

“The headstone is very heavy, so someone had to move it,” said Demetric Brown.

The headstone is now back, but obviously damaged.

“They set it back up there,” Edna Marie Brown said, “but it’s still messed up – especially the ‘1986’ (the year Shenita was born) is vandalized.

The Browns said they reached out to the cemetery staff to ask that it be replaced.

“She told me since we didn’t get the stone through Oak Ridge Cemetery, they weren’t responsible,” Edna Marie Brown said.

We reached out to the cemetery too, but were unable to ask what happened to the stone or why they didn’t feel responsible. What we do know is that the headstone company has offered to help the family reset and repair the marker.

“She was just a beautiful, beautiful young lady in the world,” said Demetric Brown.

Once it is repaired, they can continue to honor Shenita’s short, but beautiful, life.

“I hope they will fix it for me,” said Edna Marie Brown. “I really do.”

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