VERMONTVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) - The temporary grave marker of a little boy who died recently was taken from a cemetery. His family wants it back.
Michelle Malloy lost her 6-year-old son Zion Maldenado just weeks ago to a congenital brain defect.
"He beat the odds. They said he would never make it out of the womb. He did. They said he would never smile or laugh on his own but, oh, he did," his mother said.
In his short life, Zion made a big impact.
"He was a vibrant little boy at heart," Malloy said.
But eventually, the odds caught up with Zion.
"We woke up and he had went in his sleep. He must have been really tired," she said.
"I miss my baby," she added.
When it was time to bury little Zion at a cemetery in Vermontville -- a small town northeast of Charlotte in Eaton County -- his parents wanted to mark his grave with something special.
"His dad found this little fire truck and it had solar headlights, 'cause he didn't like the dark. And we thought that was perfect because he liked cars," Malloy said.
It was comforting to Malloy that the lights would keep Zion safe at night. And, she said, family buried nearby would keep him company.
"He's got his great-aunt behind him and his great-grandma and his great-great-grandma," she said.
Monday, Malloy and Zion's father went to visit his grave. They found his temporary grave marker was gone.
"I thought that it couldn't get worse after losing him," she said. "Just speechless that anyone would take anything from a cemetery at all."
The flowers in the truck had been tossed on the ground.
The little truck cost $30. It is made of concrete, not a recyclable metal. It has no value to anyone other than Zion's family.
"Just bring it back," Malloy demanded of whoever took the truck. "I don't need to know who you are or why you did it. He just needs his light back. He was just an innocent little boy. He never hurt anybody. He only brightened the world and now you just darkened his."
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