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Two weeks after vandalism, Parker memorial garden dedicated to children who have died is damaged again

The garden was also vandalized around Thanksgiving. Parker police released a photo of the suspect on Friday.
Parker memorial garden vandalism - teen identified
Rowan Tree Foundation
Posted at 10:53 AM, Dec 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-08 23:37:56-05

Editor's note: A Parker teen admitted to his involvement in the vandalism Friday afternoon, the Parker Police Department announced. Read more information here.

PARKER, Colo. — About two weeks after somebody damaged trees at a Parker memorial dedicated to children who have died, more trees have been vandalized.

The Rowan Tree Foundation said on its Facebook page Wednesday morning that its Angel Memorial Garden had been vandalized again, sometime between late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

Rowan Tree Foundation

"Two of our new trees have been chopped down, and one of the trees that was wounded last time has additional damage," the post reads. "This was a tree that was at risk after the last attack, so it may be that this could result in the loss of that tree as well."

"I wish I could understand why someone would do this to our beautiful memorial. It’s really hard to see," it continued.

On Friday morning, police release an image of a suspect believed to be involved in multiple criminal mischief incidents, including at the memorial garden as well as the Salisbury Equestrian Park. Total damages are estimated at $16,000.

Parker memorial garden vandalism - teen identified

Anyone with information should call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913- 7867 or submit a tip online. All tipsters can stay anonymous and earn a reward up to $2,000 for information.

This week's reported damage marks at least the third time a person has damaged the ROwan Tree Foundation's garden memorial since the week of Thanksgiving.

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Memorial garden for child loss vandalized in Parker, foundation says

Claire Lavezzorio
4:57 PM, Nov 24, 2023

On Nov. 24, Corinne O’Flynn, founder of the Rowan Tree Foundation, told Denver7 that vandals had targeted the garden's trees the morning before Thanksgiving and then returned for a second hit sometime before Thanksgiving morning. In total, five trees were chopped down.

“These trees in particular that were cut down were ones that were dedicated by individual families, for their children,” she said.

Memorial garden for child loss vandalized in Parker, foundation says

This came just days before the foundation's memorial event on Dec. 2.

"I’m trying to find compassion for the person who did this, because they must have a lot of pain in their hearts," O’Flynn wrote on the foundation's Facebook page. "But I’m more concerned with you, our Rowan Tree family, those who dedicated these trees with us all those years ago, and anyone who comes here to mourn this week."

On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Parker Mayor Jeff Toborg surveyed the damage. He said this wasn't the only park where vandals had cut down trees in recent weeks, but this incident felt more personal.

“It’s sacred and for someone to come and commit an act of violence against not only the property but against their memory is something that we’re just not going to stand for,” he said.

Toborg spearheaded an effort to plant new trees with the help of Parker Forestry and Open Space Division within a few days. In addition, Arbor Valley Nursery and BrightView installed an additional tree to balance out the garden aesthetically, the foundation said.

The organization is now working on next steps after two of the newly planted trees were cut down and one was damaged earlier this week.

The foundation is in contact with the city and police department about the vandalism cases.

If you would like to donate to the garden's restoration, click here.

The Rowan Tree Foundation is a volunteer-led nonprofit that provides support and resources for families mourning the loss of a child. It holds two memorial events each year at the garden.

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