March 30, 2005
A cross, empty candle holders and beads tied high in a tree were all that remained of a memorial site a Mesa family began to rebuild Tuesday.
Photos, laminated posters with personal messages and dozens of stuffed animals left at the site in honor of two Dobson High School students killed in a Dec. 9 crash disappeared over the Easter weekend — leaving a gaping hole and a mystery.
Donna Ebel said her family was heartbroken to find the memorial site, created by dozens of friends to honor her daughter Krystal Ebel, 15, and friend Shayna Linneen, 16, bare on Saturday.
Easter was an important holiday to Krystal, and the family had planned to visit the site to be close to her, Ebel said.
"Those were memories of Krystal and Shayna," Ebel said. "When you take those tributes to Krystal and Shayna you’re violating them, and they’re not even there to defend themselves."
She is offering a $200 reward to anyone who will return the mementos.
Ebel said it’s not the first time a memorial site has been destroyed along Alma School Road between Guadalupe and Elliot roads. She has been in touch with another mother who said her son’s memorial site was taken down.
The girls’ lunchtime crash sparked a campaign by the Ebel family to close campuses during lunchtime to help prevent future crashes. The Mesa Unified School District governing board voted March 8 to partially close campuses by 2006.
Jeri O’Dell, manager of Summit Lakes Apartments, said it is unclear whether the girls’ memorial lay on the complex’s property or on city property — but O’Dell had approved the memorial and was stunned by its disappearance.
Neither the city nor police department can link any official to removing the memorial, said Chandler police Sgt. Mike Franzen. Typically, he said, the city will only remove memorials that obstruct or distract traffic — and only after contacting the family.
Any information about the theft can be reported to the Chandler Police Department at (480) 782-4000 or Donna Ebel at firstname.lastname@example.org.