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Published: Saturday, 7/4/2009

Area family rallies after parents are robbed, beaten


GIBSONBURG, Ohio - A party scheduled for today that will bring together the nine children of James and Mary Kohler has taken on a new significance after an attack on their parents.

What was planned as a 50th birthday party for Matt Kohler will instead serve as a chance for his mother, 76-year-old Mary, to reunite with her children and many of the couple's 17 grandchildren after she was hospitalized to recuperate from injuries she suffered in the assault early Thursday.

Mr. Kohler, 74, is listed in serious condition at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center and will not be home for the party, said their daughter, Kay, but that won't stop the family.

"We will find a way to be with both of them," said their son, Dave Kohler of Waynesville, Ohio.

James Consolo, a detective with the Sandusky County Sheriff's Department, said James Kohler was sleeping downstairs and his wife upstairs when at least two men forced open the front door of their Washington Township home and beat the couple. Mrs. Kohler was dragged from bed and thrown down a flight of stairs.

Dave Kohler said the burglars apparently were targeting his father's 31-piece gun collection acquired from local sportsmen's clubs and gun shows in Lima and

Kenton, Ohio, over more than 40 years.

His father suffered a stroke in June, 2008, that left his right arm paralyzed, he said.

"He never had a chance to resist them. He was thrown against the fireplace," Dave Kohler said yesterday as he fought back tears.

The robbers tied both victims' hands, but Mr. Kohler managed to free himself and call 911, Detective Consolo said.

Kay Kohler said her parents share forgiveness toward their assailants.

"Mom was praying for the people who did this. She is full of religion. She is an amazing person," she said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Sandusky County Sheriff's Department at 419-334-6472 or 419-334-6444. A reward is being offered by the family and the sheriff's department for information in the case.

"There's been an outpouring of support from the community," Kay Kohler said. "We hope justice is served."

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