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Missing Historic Tombstone Case Solved In Breckenridge

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A photo of the stolen tombstone (credit: Jen Baldwin, Ancestral Journeys, ©2011-2013)

A photo of the stolen tombstone (credit: Jen Baldwin, Ancestral Journeys, ©2011-2013)

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – Police now know what happened to a missing historic headstone from a grave in the high country that’s been around for 110 years.

Genealogist Jen Baldwin volunteers by giving tours at the cemetery in Breckenridge. She said there are only about five or so remaining wooden headstones. The missing headstone is for Bertha Welch. It’s unique because it has withstood the elements over time and is the last one that is still legible.

“I walked around the corner and she was gone,” Baldwin said. “She’s part of my regular tour and she just disappeared.”

It turns out Welch had a distant relative — a great granddaughter — who lived in Breckenridge. After she saw CBS4’s story on Monday she let police know she had taken the marker to get it repaired.

For Baldwin, knowing where the marker is brought some relief.

“In my opinion it’s incredibly priceless. There’s no number you can put on a piece of history like that,” she said.

For Welch, it may be the kindest gesture she’s ever had from her family. She was a 20-year-old mother abandoned by her husband whose family lived in California when she died at the turn of the century. At the time her family said to simply bury her in Breckenridge.

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