Thieves hit daughter's gravesite: 'This is very upsetting'

HOUSTON -- An all-too-common crime is hitting one Houston mother hard. It's disturbing the one place she can go to remember her teen daughter.

"It still hurts 15 years later, it always will," said Linda Takacs.

Her 19-year-old daughter, Jessica Fischer, had a face you couldn't forget. She was an up-and-coming model when her car flipped on a road trip in St. Louis.

"I have a really big hole in my heart losing her," said Takacs.

It was snowing in St. Louis and Takacs couldn't get there before Jessica died.

"So the next time I saw her was in that funeral home right up there," said Takacs. "I didn't get to tell her goodbye, so that's why I like to come out and visit and feel close to her and kind of try and get some closure, still, after all these years."

But now there's a hole in her place of refuge and remembrance too.

"There should be a big bronze vase sitting here," Takacs said, pointing to a hole in Jessica's grave marker.

Someone stole it right from the grave at Woodlawn Cemetery in Houston.

"This is very upsetting to me because I heard that they're stealing them to sell them and make money off of them," said Takacs.

A walk through the cemetery showed how sadly common the crime is. There was an open hole on another grave marker nearby and across the way, a cluster of three snatched out in one spot. Looking inside one you could see a second problem, there was water standing inside, seeping into the grave.

"As you can hear there's an airtight seal there," Takacs said, demonstrating on her father's grave, part of four generations buried there.

They're Linda's last connections to the loved and lost, and she wants thieves to know that's nothing to play with.

"Was that $100 that you got for doing this worth destroying someone's grave, a place of rest," asked Takacs.

But standing by her daughter's grave, looking down, Takacs knows what Jessica would say.

"Mom, it's just a vase. Just go on with life and be happy."

And she is happy, for memories of a daughter who's still worth fighting for.


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