'She's back!' | Sister of Liberty statue recovered
Marshall Park Director Jeff Stubblefield was not the only one who thought the Sister of Liberty statue -- stolen during the night Aug. 5 -- was gone for good.
So he was surprised, and delighted, to receive a call shortly before 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, from someone who suggested he contact a Blackwater youth who "found something you might want," he said.
Stubblefield and Marshall Police Chief Mike Donnell made the trip to Blackwater and discovered that what the youth found was, indeed, something they wanted.
It was the Sister of Liberty statue.
The youth was walking along the Blackwater River recently with his mother when he saw something odd sticking out of the mud, according to Stubblefield.
They started digging, and the more they uncovered the more they suspected they had found the missing statue.
The family was able to extract the statue from the mud, took it home and cleaned it up. Stubblefield said the youth asked to remain anonymous.
The statue did not come out of the ordeal unscathed, however. Several of the rays in her crown are bent. One is missing. Her head is dented.
But Stubblefield said he isn't worried about a few dings.
"I don't think there's anything there Beno (Messer) can't fix," Stubblefield said. "It was in worse shape when we took it to him the first time."
In 2011, Messer completely restored the 60-year-old statue. A re-dedication ceremony was held on Veterans' Day 2011 after the rerfurbished statue was installed and improved grounds were finished.
The recovery of the statue came just in time, too. Stubblefield had started the process of getting a replacement statue made.
"I just talked to a bronze sculptor today about replacing her," he said.
After the statue is repaired, Stubblefield plans to return her to her station at the north entrance to Indian Foothills Park.
Security improvements will be made, he said, to help prevent a recurrence of the theft.
"We will take stronger measures," he said. "It's good to have her back."
Donnell said the discovery of the statue did not yield clues about the perpetrators of the theft, but the case remains open.
Contact Eric Crump at firstname.lastname@example.org
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