Money needed to cover cost of third memorial to slain 9-year-old

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A small memorial along U.S. 50 near Spooner Summit marked the spot where 9-year-old Krystal Steadman's body was found in March of this year, and the removal of that marker seems only to have strengthened the resolve of local residents to do something more permanent in the little girl's memory.

The memorial was near the embankment where 19-year-old Thomas Soria Jr. admitted dropping Krystal's body the night she was murdered. Erected just a few days after her death, the cross was surrounded by a mound of stuffed animals. But the memorial was removed at the end of October to make way for snowplows, and that is when Packer, a member of the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club, started the movement to restore the marker. He was part of an effort by the club to replace the memorial, but the second memorial disappeared only days after its Nov. 18 dedication. Packer is back and at it again.

"This is a little girl that didn't have a chance in life," he said. "It's not fair, and the community and I feel strongly about it. No one deserves to be dumped off the road like trash. She deserves to be honored."

Others are following Packer's lead. A man known only as Darryl from Moundhouse crafted the 5-foot cross, and a plaque is being cast brass at cost by Joe Briggs of Ponderosa Stamping and Engraving. Copeland Lumber supplied the wood to encase the rail cross and John Cobrae of Tamarack Construction in South Lake Tahoe will provide the labor, do the finish work, and set the concrete forms.

"My heart goes out to Krystal's parents, family and to any child that is victimized by an adult," Cobrae said, noting he was speaking as a parent. He didn't know Krystal, but his daughter was a school-mate. "Children are our future. They're a gift from God. . . . That adult deserves the worst penalty we can give."

Excavation and setting of the cross is slated for Dec. 8, and the public is invited to the dedication on Dec. 9 beginning at 12:30 p.m. From Carson City, it's best to turn at the first break in the median on Spooner grade, and turn east. The memorial is located south of the road, just off the east-bound lane.

Those wanting to help cover the cost of the memorial can contact Packer at 883-1903. Any proceeds over and above the cost of the memorial will go to the Krystal's family for Christmas.


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