Family touched by angel gifts

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Fruit Valley: A Vancouver family saddened by the presumed theft of a beloved angel garden statue has since been touched by the kindness of strangers. In the nearly two months since the Ernesti family's plight was featured in The Columbian and on local TV news broadcasts, it has been gifted with three angel statues from local people who were moved by the story. Though nothing could really replace the 2-foot-tall ceramic angel that went missing late last year from the front yard of 5311 N.W. Walnut St. -- a reminder of Adella Ernesti, who died in 2009 -- Theo Ernesti said she shed a lot of happy tears over the unexpected gifts. Two were delivered separately on her mother, Adella's, Dec. 23 birthday. Another came about two weeks ago. The presents also moved 88-year-old DeWayne Ernesti, who would often gaze out his kitchen window at the now-missing statue, a Mother's Day gift from Theo to Adella nearly 30 years ago. During their 59 years of marriage, DeWayne would often bring his wife angel gifts because of her fondness for the collectables. By the time she died, Adella, a devoted Catholic, had gathered nearly 400 angel ornaments. Theo said she and her father are keeping the new garden statues inside their home because they just aren't comfortable putting them outside. "It has really been quite an amazing adventure," she said. "It really touched our hearts."