Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – To know the Larson family is to know the last few years have brought incredible pain. Kory Larson lost his youngest child, Jack, in an accident not far from home.
“Life has never been the same, since then,” Larson said.
It was in 2009 when Jack was crossing County Road 3 with family. A driver ignored the stopped vehicles and passed on the shoulder, hitting and killing the 3-year-old. In the months and years that followed, the family found healing in the form of a hand-carved, four-foot elephant statue. The stature is a life-sized replica of Jack’s favorite stuffed animal.
“We don’t have much to remember, but that was the one thing he carried with him constantly,” Larson said. “He always had it around and that was the most important thing he had.”
For his family, the elephant statue became their most important reminder of their short time with him.
“It meant a lot to everyone,” said Donna Larson, Jack’s grandma. “It was just a memorial for Jack.”
But when Kory Larson went to remove it from winter storage in Donna’s barn, he was shocked to find it missing.
“With everything else that’s in here, that someone would try to take that and steal that, it didn’t make sense at all,” Larson said.
The thief ignored expensive tools and machinery, but took the 300 pound statue. In a way, the thief took the little boy from his family once again.
“It’s just one more thing to add to the pain,” Kory said.
Three rocks still mark the place where the statue used to stand at the entrance of a nearby campground. Not far from where the statue once stood, is also a cross — a reminder that faith may bring a piece of Jack back home.
“All we want is it back,” Donna said.
The family said they don’t plan to press charges as long as they get their statue back.
They have no idea who may have taken it. If you have any information, call the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s office at 320-829-4749.