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Angel means more than thief can know

West Alis family hopes for return of stolen statue

Aug. 9, 2011

West Allis - Losing your child is hard enough, but losing a cherished memory tied to that child only adds to the pain.

Debbie LaDue in West Allis knows this from personal experience after a 70-pound statue of an angel was stolen from her front porch on 84th Street in late July.

It's the meaning behind the angel that makes the theft more significant.

It symbolizes the goodness of the organ donor whose liver gave her daughter Amy nearly 10 more years of life. Those were treasured years the family enjoyed together before Amy eventually died at age 27 in 2003.

LaDue and her family are heartbroken over the theft and hope that their angel will be returned.

"It doesn't mean anything to anybody else, but it means a lot to us," LaDue said.

This is the third time their angel was stolen. The family bought the first in 1994 after Amy's transplant. It was stolen about four years later. The family bought a new angel right away.

"I promised Amy that it would always be sitting in front of the house," LaDue said. "We would go out and get the paper every day and look at it and give thanks."

The angel is all about reminding people not to take their organs to heaven, she said, and sign their drivers licenses to donate their organs.

The new angel was stolen at about Christmas in 2006. Newspaper and television stories about the heartbreaking theft appeared and the statue was returned shortly afterward.

Then, a week later, it was knocked off the porch and its head was broken off. LaDue lovingly repaired it. The statue is readily identifiable because of that repair.

The family hopes their angel will again find its way back home so it can continue to pay homage to the man who saved their daughter for so many years. 

- Jane Ford-Stewart

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