'Help find stolen painting of my dead daughter'
Published: 04 Jul 2014 13:29 GMT+02:00
Jacqueline Bratt, 59, lost little Felicia when the toddler was just two years and seven months old. She had contracted a brain tumour and died within a few months of its discovery.
The grieving mother was just 25 when she suffered the devastating loss. Her spirits were lifted when a family friend created two pictures of Felicia, one in pencil and the other in colour in honour of her memory.
"It was a beautiful present so I hung it by my bed and looked at it every night before I went to sleep and when I woke up in the morning," Bratt told The Local.
But then one day the colour portrait wasn't there.
Thieves had broken into her summer house in southern Sweden and swiped the painting along with several other items, in a theft carried out in 2002.
"At first we didn't even notice there was a burglary as there were no signs of a break-in. Then I saw that the painting was gone and my heart sank. It made me feel sad, just terribly sad," she said.
She reported the theft to the police but it led nowhere. After joining Facebook she was encouraged by her children to launch an appeal for the safe return of the colour portrait.
Bratt, who lives in Malmö, southern Sweden, only posted the appeal a few days ago and already it has gained over 40,000 shares. But despite the enthusiastic support of the public it has not yielded any firm leads.
"Often I go to flea markets across Sweden in the hope that somehow the painting will show up. It never has but I can't give up," she says.
She believes that the painting may have ended up overseas and has appealed to The Local's readers around the world to keep their eyes peeled for the missing picture.
The picture is very similar to the pencil portrait (seen above) except that it is in colour and was hanging inside a wooden frame.
Bratt went on to have three more children but says that Felicia is never far from her thoughts.
"She was my first born and was just such a happy and sweet child. And within three months of the tumour she was gone."
"Of course life goes on and now I have grandchildren but Felicia is always there in my mind. If I could find the painting after all these years it would mean the world to me," Bratt told The Local.
Have you seen Jacqueline's missing painting? If you have any information please contact The Local's reporter Patrick Reilly on firstname.lastname@example.org.