Here is the newspaper article from the South Bend Tribune dated 02/02/2006:
Local residents, genealogists take up challenge. By Pablo Ros (Tribune Staff Writer)
Mishawaka - To many, the search for the rightful owner of a missing tombstone was a challenge they willingly undertook.
Assistant Chief Jerry Schroder of the Mishawaka Police Department said he received 22 phone calls Tuesday after local media reported the department was looking for the rightful owner of a missing tombstone. The stone had been held as unclaimed property in the department's evidence room for more than two years.
The tombstone of Mildred B. Checkley, who died in 1962, was originally in Rice Cemetery in Elkhart City, Schroder said. He doesn't yet know why, when or how the marker was taken to the Mishawaka police station.
Schroder said his next step is to contact the deceased's great-grand niece, who called the department Tuesday. He hopes to return the marker to her within the next few days.
Rice Cemetery is one of the largest in Elkhart County, with more than 28,000 people buried in 48 acres of land.
Vicki Edson, Rice Cemetery coordinator, said the tombstone likely was removed from the grave site in 1987, when Mildred B. Checkley's sister, Elizabeth H. Checkley, died and was buried at the same spot. A two-piece monument stone, bearing both names has marked the site ever since.
Normally, said Edson, a monument company commissioned with a new stone is responsible for replacing and disposing of the old one. Something might have gone wrong in the process, she said, but doesn't know what or who might be responsible.
Assistant Chief Schroder also said Wednesday he felt "glad" and "happy" that the rightful owner had been found and was grateful to the public for its "great response".
Among those who contacted Mishawaka police were people who had known the deceased in places as far away as Cole County, Ill, Schroder said.
Some who called the Mishawaka Police Department also contacted the Tribune.
Terry Coleman, an environmental consultant, said he called police after using his lunch break Tuesday to Google the deceased name, Glenn Terry, a retired South Bend police officer, did similarly, making a stop at the public library to do a quick search. Michael Lacopo, a veterinarian who is also a professional genealogist, logged into various online databases. Even Chris Frederick, a resident of Indianapolis, and Barbara Brickley, of Florida, joined the search.
Patricia K. Johnson, an Elkhart resident and co-author of two volumes on Rice Cemetry, said she knew where to look. Her two volumes, available through the Elkhart County Genealogical Society, contain the names of all people buried in Rice Cemetery.
Johnson is a retired research scientist for Bayer (Miles Laboratories) and has been a genealogist for 35 years.
Members of the South Bend Area Genealogical Society also made the best of the missing tombstone challenge.
Bev Petersen, a member of the society, said she had others discussed the missing tombstone during their weekly meeting Wednesday morning.
"that's all we talked about, "she said.
Petersen also owns Fun Stuff for Genealogist Inc., a store where she sells trinkets to fans of the science.
Investigating a family's past is more than just fun, Petersen said.
"it's becomes something soothing," she explained, "alsmost a spirtual thing, because you realize that you're part of a bigger picture."
Staff writer Pablo Ros:firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam, now here is where I agree with you. If Mildred and her sister share a headstone and both bear the same last name as Checkley. What are the odds here that both women married Checkley?
If you hear anything more or if our local paper prints other articles, let's keep in touch.
Thanks and May God Bless.