The iconic Jackie Robinson statue, which proudly stood at a youth baseball field in Wichita, Kansas, has been tragically found burned and destroyed in a park miles away. The local community is devastated by the loss.
The beloved statue, owned and erected by the Robinson Family Foundation, a nonprofit youth baseball league that honors Jackie Robinson, was stolen from its mount in the early hours of Thursday. Thieves cut the statue at its ankles before snatching it away.
The Wichita Fire Department made the heartbreaking discovery when they responded to a reported trash can fire at a park. Pieces of the statue were found burned beyond repair.
Wichita city council member Brandon Johnson expressed his team’s initial hope of finding the statue intact before the tragic incident. However, he assured the community that efforts would be made to raise funds for a replacement. Johnson pledged to find a way to recover the statue and continued investing in the community.
The Wichita Police Department is actively investigating the incident and has interviewed over 100 people in their search for the thieves. As of now, no arrests have been made.
Police Chief Joe Sullivan urged those involved in the theft and destruction of the statue to come forward. He warned that time was running out and encouraged them to turn themselves in and take responsibility for their actions.
The original statue, created by artist John Parsons, has unfortunately been lost forever. However, the mold from Parsons’ work remains viable. Therefore, the new statue that will grace McAdams Park will still be credited to John Parsons.
While a replacement statue is being produced, League 42, in collaboration with the Robinson Family Foundation, has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds. The foundation aims to collect enough donations to cover the replacement cost, and any surplus funds will be used for operational needs and education programs. The campaign has already received tremendous support, with more than 2,500 donations totaling over $122,000 out of the $150,000 goal.
On what would have been Jackie Robinson’s birthday, the foundation celebrates his legacy and the values he stood for. The incident has further strengthened the league’s commitment to its mission of providing affordable baseball and educational opportunities for children aged 5-14. League 42 remains determined to replace the lost statue and continue honoring Jackie Robinson’s memory.
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