Statue stolen from Madeline Bertrand County Park

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 6:14 PM EDT
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NILES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WNDU) - There has been some foul play at a Berrien County park.

A statue of Madeline Bertrand was stolen from the pedestal it had occupied for 36 years in the Niles Township park that bears her name.

The statue was a gift from Niles Township to celebrate Michigan’s sesquicentennial in 1987.

While it was designed to stand for generations to come: “Unfortunately, the statue was broken off at the ankle of the woman. It’s a statue of a woman, of Madelyn Bertrand, and it was broken off at the ankles,” said Berrien County Parks Director Jill Adams.

The statue was located front and center at the park entrance, where it greeted guests for decades.

It was taken either the night of March 15th or the early morning hours of March 16th.

That means the gates to the park were closed, and the thieves likely had to move a statue made of bronze without the benefit of a vehicle.

“It’s really tragic to see something like that disappear,” said Mitchell Sindeisen, who lives nearby. “That’s just unbelievable. Really not cool, you know.”

The discovery of the disappearance of the statue came on the same day parks officials was celebrating the acquisition of 32 additional acres of land adjacent to Madeline Bertrand County Park. “Well, it was surprising. We had a very good day. The day we discovered that the statue had been stolen, we were celebrating that we had added to the county parks system. We added some acreage to the north of Madeline Bertrand County Park that same day so it was a roller coaster of emotions when the park managers arrived the morning of the 16th of March and discovered that the statue that had been in place since 1987, was taken off its pedestal.”

Madeline Bertrand’s presence in the area dates back to the early 1800′s when the daughter of a Potawatomi Indian Chief married a French fur trader.