NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- A vandalized memorial brought an 82-year-old man to tears as it's meant to commemorate his son's short life.
The vandals targeted the small stone in Morris Cove Park where there's a plaque remembering 16-year-old Jerry Juliano who died from a brain tumor back in 1970.
It's a small rock, with a simple plaque, in the middle of a Morris Cove playground, but it's the world to Frank Juliano.
"Jerry was a wonderful boy," said Juliano, "I'm sorry I gotta cry 'cause he's dead over 40 years now and he'd always help people."
Juliano continued on to say, "that's why they dedicated the park to him, he was a darn nice boy."
Sitting at the kitchen table with his family, he looked through an old photo album.
"This here is of Mayor Guida," Juliano said.
The picture he refers to is of the park dedication which took place more than 40 years ago, but he's lived in Morris Cove much longer.
"Almost 82 years and I'm proud to say it, did you hear me, 82 years," he said laughing.
With his family history in town and a park named for his son, when he saw the stone toppled, Juliano said, "it hurt me, it really did."
Neighbors cleaned up the litter, and helped put the stone back where it stood all those years, but it still needs cement.
"I believe they were using that plaque for a ramp for dirt bikes and that's how it broke," Juliano said, "but these young people, I don't know who they are, but we'll find out."
He wants them held accountable.
"I have three sons and three grandsons and they should be punished for it," he said.
News 8 reached out to New Haven police about the patrols around the park. They said while this is very sad, they have ample police around the Morris Cove area.
Also, Officer David Hartman urges people to be proactive about calling police when they see trespassing in public parks. He says except for the New Haven green, it's illegal for anyone to be in the park after dark and before dawn.
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