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Statue Honoring Air Force Veteran's Dog Stolen From Gravesite

BUFFALO, Minn. (WCCO) -- Deputies in the Wright County Sheriff's Office are investigating a theft at a cemetery.

It's a crime that has left a family stunned and heartbroken. It happened at the grave site of Rory Gavic in Buffalo. He served in the Air Force with a specially-trained German Shepherd by his side.

When Rory died in 2009, his mother had a statue of the dog made and placed it next to his headstone at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church cemetery.

Rory Gavic Dog Statue
(credit: CBS)

But that statue just went missing. Dave Larsen is Rory's cousin.

"When he was far away we knew he still had family with him, and that was Allan. We wanted them to be together, side by side forever," Larsen said.

Rory Gavic and his dog, Allan, were deployed three times, risking their lives to find explosives in Iraq and Pakistan.

"Rory and Allan would go in and find these dangerous devices designed to hurt and kill people, and they would stop it, they would keep it from happening," Larsen said.

In 2009, Rory killed himself after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. His mother, Linda, then had a statue of his companion and protector Allan made and placed here.

"It meant the world to her to put that out here," Larsen said.

Four years later, Linda also died by suicide.

"To stand on my aunt's grave while stealing that statue, it just, it hurts. She had it made for him. That can't ever be redone. We can get him another statue, but it's not, it's not the same," he said.

The family believes the statue was taken sometime between Sept. 25 and Oct. 7.

"We just want it back. I couldn't help him when he was alive. I just want to help him now. This one small thing. If could just get this back for him," Larsen said.

Friends of the family created a GoFundMe account to raise money to replace the statue, in case it can't be found. They say any additional money will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project to support veterans with PTSD.

If you or someone you know are struggling with thoughts of suicide please know help is always available. You can text the numbers 741741 for free 24 hours a day in the U.S.

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