Two years ago, when Joseph Wright's wife passed away, he was consumed with grief. To help ease his loss, he took up a project his wife Evelyn had left unfinished - painting a ceramic angel statue.
Wright took his time adding colorful detail to the small figurine, and eventually placed it underneath a white rose bush in his Allen Drive yard. He named the small angel after his wife, and every day as he walked out to the box to retrieve his newspaper, he was comforted by the sight of the cheery little figure peeking out from under the bush.
But Saturday morning, the angel was gone.
"She sat there, smiling at everyone who came by, until last week," he said. "Last week, someone kidnapped my little angel."
To some, the statuary would be replaceable -- a small loss. But to Wright, the loss is painful. His wife Evelyn had begun transforming the tiny angel from a drab gray to a colorful beauty, and in completing the project and seeing it daily, he felt comforted. To him, the loss is tremendous.
"Evelyn Wright was a black haired beauty," he said. In 2008, she had complications during gall bladder surgery and her bowel was nicked. A second surgery followed, with a lengthy stay in the hospital. A month after she returned home, Evelyn Wright died of a heart attack, he said.
Even two years after her death, Wright's voice trembles with emotion when he speaks of his love. Losing her was a heavy blow, but he managed. When he spotted the unfinished angel one day, he was compelled to complete the painting. The act helped him heal.
"I got the little angel painted, and put it next to the driveway under a rose bush," he said. When it snowed last winter, he took a picture of the angel surrounded by the rare white South Georgia snow.
Saturday morning, the angel was gone, he said.
"It was either somebody who wanted it for themselves or somebody who took it to sell it or pawn it," he said. To the culprit, Wright said "Bring her back home. I'll pay your ransom."
Anyone who has seen the ceramic angel that went missing from her Grove Lakes subdivision home, or knows where she may be, is asked to contact Wright at 912-764-5943.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 912-489-9414.