Thieves sink to new low, steal Vernon memorial to 215 children whose remains were found in Kamloops

215 memorial stolen

Bernadette O'Donnell was left heartbroken after thieves sunk to a new low in Vernon, stealing a memorial to the 215 residential school bodies in Kamloops.

The nation was stunned and shocked when the remains of 215 children were found last month.

In a show of support and solidarity, Every Child Matters memorials have popped up across the country.

O'Donnell, who works with the FASD Okanagan Valley Assessment and Support Society in Vernon's People Place building next to Linear Park, said items were stolen from the memorial within an hour of it being set up.

By the next morning, everything was gone.

O'Donnell said it was hoped more people would add to the memorial in honour of Canada's first people.

“We wanted the community to be a part of it,” said O'Donnell. “Because there is so much traffic that is there, it would have been a wonderful opportunity to put more teddy bears and flowers – it would just make a statement to all the Indigenous people who are in our area.”

Instead, O'Donnell has been left disheartened.

She was working in her office when she noticed some activity outside, and when she went to look, part of the memorial had been stolen.

Among the items taken were a healing rock that was given to her by a member of the Okanagan Indian Band as well as candles, shirts, stuffies and even the table cloth the items were laid out on.

“I was shocked and heartbroken,” said O'Donnell.

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