Gold Star mother claims thieves are taking coins from Marine son's grave

A military mother in Massachusetts says the coins placed on her son’s grave have been disappearing.

Lynda Kiernan lost her 18-year-old son, Private First-Class Becket Kiernan, earlier this year while he served in California.

“He wanted to be a Marine since he was tiny, tiny,” she told Boston 25.

The Marine from Rochester died in February after he was misdiagnosed with the flu when he ended up suffering from a flesh-eating bacteria.

“By the time they found out, it was too late,” his grieving mother said.

The teenager was buried at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne and it’s one of the few places that brings his mother some peace, she said.

“It’s one of the only places where I know where my son is,” Lynda Kiernan added. “I come here and I talk, and I talk to him.”

It’s a military tradition for visitors to leave a penny if they knew the fallen. A nickel means they were in boot camp together, a dime if they served together and a quarter if they were together when the soldier died.

Becket’s grave stone was covered in coins from those who loved him; however, over the last few weeks, many of those coins have slowly gone missing, Kiernan said.

“Another Gold Star mom whose son is buried here too came to visit Beck,” she said. “She left a very special silver half dollar with him and I just knew, it’s Saturday, special coin, and it’s going to go missing – and within 24 hours it was gone.”

Kiernan said the cemetery’s director told her groundskeepers may have blown away the coins while mowing the lawn.

She said that based on how often the grass has been cut and the frequency of the coins disappearing, she believes someone is stealing them.

“It just makes me, it just makes me sick to think that someone thinks it’s OK to take from him,” Kiernan said, adding that she hopes whoever is responsible for it has a change of heart.

“I don’t understand what’s broken in them that they just see a coin and take it from an 18-year-old Marine who gave everything,” she said.

Massachusetts State Police, who patrol Joint Base Cape Cod – which includes the cemetery – said they have stepped up their patrols and groundskeepers are keeping an eye out.