When Maureen Johnson left for church Dec. 16, she had no idea she would be the victim of a crime upon her return.
Upon realizing her bedroom door was locked and the home was in somewhat of a disarray, Maureen called the Sheriff's Office. Upon seeing the scene once the deputy got the locked door open, Maureen speculates the intruder must have known what he or she was doing.
"They knew where to look: they didn't open any of the drawers," said Maureen.
The scene included an open window, a mess, and many valuables missing.
"All of my jewelry boxes were thrown about. My bedroom was upside down," she said, adding that the most disappointing loss was that of some of her late husband's military medals.
U.S. Special Forces Green Beret parachutist Verlon Johnson, who was the subject of The Sun's Veterans Day profile, had initially lost his medals in Hurricane Ivan, as the couple's close-to-the-water home was flooded. The U.S. government replaced the medals shortly before Verlon died in October.
Of the 10 medals Verlon reclaimed, the burglars took "one medal and two parachutes," according to the victim. They also took a bar of pure silver which Maureen acquired while working in Saudi Arabia as a radiation therapist. The bar had sentimental value to Maureen, as well, as it was in Saudi Arabia that she met her future husband.
She said the deputy who responded asked for a list of missing items so he could begin working on the case, but she was unable to provide such a list, as she hadn't fully inventoried the stolen valuables.
"I just can't remember everything," she said, though she did give him some leads.
Her large German shepherd, Brutus, was home while Maureen attended the church service, but he did not succeed in staving off the intruder.
Maureen says that though she's heard of burglaries after family deaths, she never thought it would happen to her.
Now, nearly three weeks after the burglary, Maureen is still in shock.
"I never thought I'd be burgled," she said.
If anyone has leads about the stolen medals or one-kilo bar of silver, contact the Walton County Sheriff's Office at 892-8186, which is actively working on the case.