POWELL, Tn (WVLT) Elaine Clevenger said the angel statue that was stolen from her 5-year-old granddaughter's grave in Powell has been recovered.
An elderly man spotted the statue on the side of the road in Anderson County and contacted authorities.
Whoever stole the statue tried to paint the angel's hair gold. Now, Maryville Monument is working to restore it for free.
Knoxville Police said they are continuing to investigate.
A few times a month, Clevenger visits Bell's Campground Cemetery in Powell to clean the gravesite of her granddaughter Kylie.
Kylie Grace Overton passed away from a rare type of cancer in 2014, just five days before her sixth birthday. A statue of an angel has adorned her headstone until sometime during the first week of April, 2019.
"It signified the angel that she was on earth." Said Clevenger. "She was so perfect, she was a good kid, always loving. Her little motto was, 'God is good all the time.' She'd never seen bad in anything."
"I had come up yesterday to check on the graves," Clevenger told WVLT News on Thursday, April 11, 2019. That's when she said she noticed the angel statue was missing. "I was devastated. Tears. You just can't explain the feeling of emptiness that we have. Just emotions all over again."
The angel and the grave serve as a connection between Kylie and her family
"I talk to her, I look up in the sky and talk to her. I feel that she's here with us all the time," her grandmother said. She told WVLT News she couldn't imagine why anyone would steal from a child, let alone a child's grave site.
"It's a sacred place, it's just something that shouldn't happen to anyone's grave, regardless of being a child, an adult, whoever it is, it's just a sacred place and I feel like the good lord will take care of them one way ore another," said Clevenger.
Kylie captivated East Tennesseans back in 2012. Benefits were held for the young girl who wanted to visit Disney World.
"She had turned two in August and diagnosed on December 30th of the same year. She was flown to St. Jude emergency surgery two days later. She fought chemo, radiation, and she died five days before she turned six," Clevenger recalled.
The stolen angel statue brought back those painful memories of loss. The family said they were determined to find the person who took it.
"There has been so many people wanting to donate and come forward to donate money but we really don't want that, what we want is the person found that's done this to this child's grave."