John Steadman, father of slain 9-year-old Krystal Steadman, said Monday that donated money left over for a permanent memorial should go to a needy family.
"I don't know what's going on out there, but I do think that any extra money from the memorial should go to a different family," Steadman said from his home in Tennessee. "A poor family that needs it would be a better use of the money."
Plans are going forward Friday with the erection of a second permanent memorial to the girl who was abducted from a Stateline neighborhood March 19, molested, killed and thrown over the embankment of Highway 50, three miles above Carson City.
The memorial, a metal and wood cross set in concrete, will replace a cross stolen last month from near the embankment where 20-year-old Thomas Soria Jr. admitted dropping Krystal's body the night she was murdered.
The first "permanent" cross replaced a spontaneous memorial of stuffed animals and flowers that sat at the road's edge since the discovery of Krystal's body. The Nevada Department of Transportation asked that the original memorial be removed because of the start of the winter conditions and snow plowing.
John Steadman said he has felt heartened since learning about the memorial and the generosity that poured forth after people learned the second one was stolen.
"It should be there," he said of the memorial. "But it should not be in the family name, it should be in Krystal's name.
"The memorial should not be about the family, it should be about her."
He was also happy to hear that the effort is being led by Packer, a biker and Vietnam veteran. Steadman is also a Vietnam veteran. "I really thank him for it," he said. "He is doing a good thing."
Steadman said he has not spoken to Krystal's mother, Elizabeth Bucknell, since he learned about his daughter's death three months after it was reported to police. At that time, he also learned Soria Jr. and his father, Thomas Soria Sr., were charged with the killing.
He received the news after investigating a letter from Eldorado County that said child support payments he had been making were no longer necessary.
"I was floored," he said. "I couldn't do anything for a couple days."
Soria Sr.'s lawyers are still wrangling with pretrial motions. They return Dec. 15 to fight against the admission of DNA evidence at trial. The elder Soria is fighting charges he kidnapped, molested and murdered the girl. At a previous hearing, a judge determined that incriminating computer files may be used against Soria Sr. Soria Jr. pleaded guilty in May to kidnapping and murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He has agreed to testify against his father.
Steadman said he plans to fly to the area from Tennessee in January at which time he will visit the permanent memorial to his daughter.