The curious case of the missing tombstone

Old tombstone found recently should have been destroyed

Mission RCMP have discovered the mystery behind a tombstone that was found outside Cedarwood Manor in May.

The grave marker was inscribed with the name Fat Look Chan, but police didn’t know where it came from or where the next of kin lived.

Normally the RCMP would take the item and wait for somebody to make a claim, but because of the sensitive nature of the item, police investigated to see whether it had been stolen from a graveyard.

Const. Cody Jones soon learned the tombstone didn’t belong to any cemetery in Mission, or anywhere even closeby.

Eventually, Jones contacted the Chans, who were surprised to hear the news.

“Initially we had assumed that it was the headstone that was in Boundary Bay cemetery in Tsawwassen, and we obviously assumed the worst, that it was vandalism,” said Tom Chan, Fat Look’s son who now lives in Edmonton.

But it didn’t seem to make sense that someone would steal the headstone and drop it off 90 kilometres away.

When Chan called the cemetery, however, the tombstone was still in place, which made the whole affair even more confusing.

As it turns out, when Chan’s father passed away in the seventies, the original tombstone was engraved and placed in the cemetery. It was replaced in 1993 when his mother was interred beside her husband, essentially creating a duplicate.

“So we assumed that the company that replaced the headstone and removed the original would’ve just disposed of it,” said Chan, but clearly that didn’t happen.

How it made its way to Mission is still a mystery, but Chan says it must have been kept indoors and safe all these years because it’s still in pristine condition.

After being relieved the gravesite was not desecrated, the fact the old one wasn’t destroyed and wound up being abandoned in Mission was still disturbing to Chan.

But he added that he’s very appreciative the RCMP tracked the next of kin down.

“He didn’t have to. It could have just been left there and we would never have known,” he said, adding it’s nice to know the police go out of their way to help people.

Mission RCMP Insp. Richard Konarski said Jones did a “helluva job” bringing the story to a happy conclusion.

“I’m really proud of the work that he’s done,” he said.

Chan said his father was a Chinese immigrant to Ladner, where he became a well-known farmer in what was then a small, tight-knit rural community. He lived his entire Canadian life in Ladner, passing away in his 90s, his son said.

The duplicate tombstone has since been properly destroyed, to avoid a repeat of the incident.

“I don’t want to get another phone call in 20 years to say it’s been found somewhere else,” Chan said, laughing.



Just Posted

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Emergency services were on the scene of an apparent stabbing Friday afternoon (June 11) in the 2400 block of Countess Street in Abbotsford. (Photo: Kaytlin Harrison)
Two suspects arrested after apparent stabbing in Abbotsford

Incident occurs Friday afternoon in 2400 block of Countess Street

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

City of Mission hosting a virtual and in-person open house to explore Silverdale plan

It’s the first neighbourhood planning area of the larger Silverdale Comprehensive Planning Area

Hutch Hotels Ltd., which owned the former Alder Inn (which was demolished in November 2020), is among the defendants in a lawsuit related to an alleged impaired-driving crash in January 2017. The civil suit also names S & L Kitchen and Bar in Abbotsford. (Black Press file photo)
Two Fraser Valley bars named in lawsuit related to alleged impaired-driving crash

S & L Abbotsford and Alder Inn being sued by passenger in 2017 rollover collision

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

Most Read