Sunday, December 13, 2009
W. Mesa Memorial 'Lived Its Life'
By Jeff Proctor
Journal Staff Writer
The makeshift memorial marking the West Mesa site where 11 women were buried in shallow graves by a serial killer had "lived its life and served its value," the father of one of the victims said Saturday.
In the middle of summer, the memorial was a colorful celebration of life: photographs of the women, crosses, wreaths of flowers, stuffed animals and heartfelt notes.
But by the onset of winter, strong winds and dust had damaged the memorial. And someone had left a tribute to one of the victims in graffiti.
So about two weeks ago, KB Home, the developer that owns the land near 118th and Dennis Chavez SW where the women were buried, asked the families to take their pictures and other mementos home, said Dan Valdez, whose daughter, Gina Michelle Valdez is among the victims.
"It's still a place in our hearts, that site out there," Valdez said. "KB expressed respect for the families, as they have in the past, and they reminded us that we have all been able to lay our loved ones to rest in more permanent places with proper burials.
"So we can go and visit them in the cemeteries. The makeshift memorial has been important, but it was time to move on to the more permanent sites."
The families have been collecting what was left at the site since Wednesday, Valdez said.
He said KB reiterated that 3 acres at the site on the mesa will be dedicated as a memorial park to the victims. No timetable has been established for when work on the park will begin.
KB Home officials could not be reached for comment Saturday.