Thief steals donations for child during mother's funeral in Fairview Heights

News-DemocratOctober 28, 2013 

The loved ones of Krystle Flaherty hoped that people attending her funeral would help provide for her daughter's future with memorial donations.

Many did, but during the funeral, some despicable person stole whatever was donated.

Krystle, who lived in Swansea, died Oct. 20 and her funeral was Saturday at the First Baptist Church in Fairview Heights.

Terri Halvachs of Belleville, who is one of the grandmothers of Krystle's daughter, Lillian Flaherty, 3, said a donation box was set up in the church vestibule to provide for Lillian's future.

Whatever was donated was headed for a trust fund established for the child at the Bank of Belleville.

"Apparently, when the preacher was preaching the service, some individual helped himself to the contents," Terri said. "They took everything. There were a few torn-open envelopes left. Numerous people told us the box was nearly full."

As if dealing with the heartbreak of losing the 28-year-old Krystle wasn't bad enough, now the friends and relatives have to deal with this.

The family reported the crime to the Fairview Heights Police Department and officers are working on it, said spokesman Lt. Steve Evans. Even though police see some strange things in their work, even they are often amazed at the depravity of people.

"You don't even imagine anyone doing anything like that," he said.

He said there is hope of solving the crime because information about odd crimes has a way of getting spread around.

"You never know from what strange place information may come in on this," he said.

Also, the irate family did some digging of its own.

Halvachs said people at the funeral gave them the name of a potential suspect who was there and who is known to have been involved with police before.

There may be a chance to recover some checks people wrote but cash probably is another matter. So Halvachs said they hope that other people will be willing to help out with the trust fund.

At the least they want some publicity to help put the pressure on the thief.

To donate, you can send contributions to the trust fund for Lillian at the Bank of Belleville, 720 W. Main St., Belleville, Il. 62220.

Have a column idea? Call Wally Spiers at 618-239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email:

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service