Memorial for slain children dedicated |

Memorial for slain children dedicated

by F.T. Norton
Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Sonya Klempner, sister of slain 9-year-old Krystal Steadman, kneels near a memorial for Nevada's slain children on the Legislative grounds in Carson City on Friday.

A memorial for Nevada’s slain children was dedicated Friday on the Legislative grounds and two similar memorials for Douglas and Washoe counties are in the works.

“All children of Nevada need to have a voice and need to be heard,” Tonja Brown, founder of the Nevada Children’s Memorial Fund, said during the short ceremony dedicated to a slain South Lake Tahoe girl.

Brown said she was prompted to act because of controversy over the state’s removal of a roadside memorial on Highway 50 West for Krystal Steadman, 9, who was murdered in March 2000.

The Nevada Children’s Memorial, which features a red maple tree, bench and bronze plaque cost $3,500 to erect and was funded by donations from the Nevada Broadcaster’s Association, Reno Gallery of Furniture and private parties.

Brown’s goal is to raise enough money to put a living tree memorial in every Nevada county. Douglas County will be the site of the next memorial dedication, she said. Washoe County’s memorial will be funded in part by donations and by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department.

“I want to express my deep appreciation for the great effort you have put forth in planting this living tree memorial,” Gov. Kenny Guinn wrote in a letter to Brown.

Guinn announced “The Krystal Steadman Memorial Award” which will be given to those people in the future who are responsible for helping locate a child reported missing through the state’s Amber Alert Plan.

Krystal’s photograph is in the state’s Amber Alert response plan manual.

Sonya Klempner, 29, Krystal’s sister, attended Friday’s memorial dedication.

“This is nice,” she said. “All we’re left with is memories.”

Klempner said she hopes the memorial will serve as a reminder to watch out for children. “This is making people more aware.”

Brown said she will try to raise enough money for future memorials, but isn’t sure what the public’s response will be.

“If citizen’s aren’t willing to sponsor this, what can I do?” she asked. “I’m just one person.”

Contact F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.