Vandals steal memorial plaque

The family of Matthew Hubner never had a grave to visit, but at least they had a memorial plaque attached to a bench at Deception Pass State Park.

That is no longer the case, as the plaque was stolen over the weekend by someone who also vandalized a newly-installed state park sign.

“That was her place to go to,” said Kimberly Rose, Matthew Hubner’s aunt, referring to the boy’ mother, who couldn’t bring herself to talk about the incident on Monday.

“She’s just a little too upset,” Rose said. “The body was never found, and that’s where she’d go with wreaths, and flowers in April.” The plaque was dedicated to “the loving memory of Matthew.”

Matthew Hubner was 13-years-old when he fell from a cliff at the park in April 2006. He was hiking toward a cave with friends when he slipped and plunged 150-feet to the water. His body was never found.

Hundreds of Oak Harbor residents turned out for Matthew’s memorial service. He was a smart boy with a quick sense of humor and giving nature.

Two years later, the bench and memorial plaque were installed in his memory at Pass Island. In the interim, the cave was sealed so others would not be tempted to risk the hike to the cave inhabited by bats.

Rick Blank, assistant park manager, said Monday that at some time over the weekend, plaques were taken from both the Hubner bench and a new interpretive sign. A seasonal park worker noticed the vandalism. “I just saw the report,” Blank said. “The bolts were removed.”

Rose said the entire family is pained by the experience. “It’s just really sad it had to happen, that it had to be disturbed,” she said.

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