TWENTY-three years after losing a 10-and-a-half-week-old baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Katrina and Grant Tomlinson were shattered to find the tiny grave of their son apparently desecrated on Saturday.
The Tomlinson family arrived at the Clarence Lawn Cemetery to pay their respects to baby Bodine only to find flowers and artefacts on the grave broken and strewn on the ground.
"The anniversaries are always the worst," Mrs Tomlinson said.
"Even after 23 years it seems like just yesterday when the anniversary of it comes around.
The thought someone could desecrate a child's grave devastated the family.
"It's a bit heartless. Unless you've lost a child, you don't know the heartbreak of it," Mrs Tomlinson said.
The Tomlinsons said they counted themselves lucky Bodine's identical twin brother Jarrod survived.
"He's fuming," Mrs Tomlinson said.
"It's the first time he hasn't been able to make it to an anniversary and he came home on Sunday night fuming."
Mr Tomlinson said Clarence Valley Council workers said crows had been creating a nuisance with artefacts on grave sites, but the Tomlinsons said the damage did not look like birds were responsible.
"They were broken off and scattered near the grave, like someone had just walked past and kicked them over," Mr Tomlinson said.
"If crows had taken them they would have scattered them all over the place."
Mrs Tomlinson said a friend who lived near the cemetery told her a group of "P-platers" had been in the cemetery late on Friday afternoon near the children's section.
"If some young person has done this, I just wish they would grow up," she said.
The family is grateful to the council workers who look after the cemetery.
"Good on them for coming out here and cleaning it up so quickly," Mr Tomlinson said.
"They've done a really good job."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.