Family and friends of 9-year-old Krystal Steadman are remembering her in the virtual pages of Tahoe.com's forum.
According to Jo Saulisberry, founder of the Carson City chapter of Compassionate Friends, a national nonprofit organization for families who have lost children through death, the loss of a child is enduring.
"It changes your life completely, even their little friends' lives. Your priorities change, you're just put into a position that you don't want to be in."
Saulisberry sees the memorials on the Web site as a way for family and friends to begin healing.
"It's great that they are doing that, it helps them deal with their grief and helps them heal."
But Saulisberry was quick to point out that although they may heal from the initial shock of the situation, "(The pain of the loss) is not going to go away and it's always going to be there. Just a constant thing you learn to live with."
Krystal was found dead Monday off Highway 50 after disappearing a day earlier from the parking lot of a South Lake Tahoe apartment building. Thomas Robert Soria Jr., a 19-year-old part-time worker for the Lake Tahoe Boys & Girls Club, is accused of the murder.
Krystal's cousins Debbie and Bobby Connolly wrote, "I'll miss you, my little cousin. Wish we could have spent more time together."
Jenee Conway wrote of her experience with Krystal at the Junior Miss Lake Tahoe pageant in January.
"I will always remember her dance, 'All Star,' at the pageant. That's what you are Krystal, an all star."
Not only family members and friends posted messages, but community members that were moved by the loss of Krystal as well. They offered condolences to Krystal's family, and most called for change.
"I think it's time that our so called 'system' take the time to make some drastic changes in the way it hires people to oversee and work with our most precious assets," wrote Barbara Bentley.
And another posting by Jo Ann C. reads, "How is it that we aren't more aware of the hiring and employment procedures that put our children in the hands of an alleged murderer? When it comes to our kids, there is no such thing as too blatant, too annoying, or too many questions."
A poem from Krystal's Aunt Karen and Uncle Stan Gregorek rings as a warning to others:
"Mothers watch your children
Keep them close to home
For evil is out there lurking
If they by chance should roam
It only takes a moment
to lose someone so dear
But it will take a lifetime
To wipe away the tears."
They dedicate the poem to Krystal's memory and simply end the message with, "We love and miss you sweet Krystal."
Visit the forum at:
To contact the Carson Chapter of Compassionate Friends, call chapter president Cathy Schultz at 883-3132 or South Lake Tahoe chapter president Karen Jones 916-541-0172, or visit their Web site at: