Roadside memorial disappears and grieving mom wants to know why

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by Kristine Harrington

azfamily.com

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Updated Friday, May 18 at 8:01 PM

PHOENIX -- It was a way for a grieving valley mother to pay tribute to her murdered son, but the roadside memorial she set up two years ago is suddenly gone and she said she feels like she’s lost her son all over again.
 
“He just said I love you mom and gave me a hug and kiss and never came back," Mary Valenzuela said.
 
That was the last time Valenzuela saw her 28-year-old son Luis, just hours before he was shot and killed near 107th avenue and Indian School.
 
“He was coming out from Chevron going to his sister’s house he never made it,” said Valenzuela.
 
Ever since that fateful night two years ago, Valenzuela has taken care of an elaborate memorial for her son.
 
But last Sunday when she pulled up, she noticed right away it was gone.
 
“I'm assuming they just came and broke it off here. They took everything I had here I don't understand why,” said Valenzuela.
 
Valenzuela called the city of Phoenix, the police, and the private property owners but no one knew what happened to the memorial.
 
This isn't the first time the memorial has been desecrated.
 
Valenzuela said she once found a bullet on the cross and another time someone egged it. She just wants to know why. 
 
After all, the property owner said he doesn’t have a problem with the memorial so long as it doesn't interfere with their operation, and the city of Phoenix has no policy against roadside memorials.
 
So the Valenzuela family is rebuilding theirs and hopes in the future people will leave it alone.
 
“Everyone's loved one deserves to be remembered,” said Valenzuela.
 
Of course roadside memorials can be seen all over the valley and most cities don't restrict them unless they interfere with the public's right of way.
 
Meantime, Valenzuela still hopes to figure out what exactly happened to her son’s memorial and she's even filed a report with the police.

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