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Crosses Disappear From Roadside Memorials

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FAYETTEVILLE — Flowers, crosses and ribbons memorializing lost lives seem to dot intersections and roads across North Carolina. They are very public shrines for private tragedies, but some of them are being stolen.

It is hard to forget the huge memorial that stood on the side of Interstate 95 to memorialize two slain officers. Now, the crosses are gone. They have been stolen from that memorial and others.

A three-foot tall iron cross replaced a smaller one about a month afterDanny Deavers was killed in a motorcycle accident.

It was a way for his friends and family to remember him. For nearly six months, it remained untouched. Recently, it was ripped out of the ground.

"Basically, they have no respect for the dead," said Gypsy Dorn, Deavers' friend.

Dorn called everyone she could think of to see if anyone had taken it down. They had not, and she thinks it was stolen.

The crosses left on the side of Interstate 95 in Cumberland County to honor slainDeputy David Hathcock and Trooper Ed Lowryare also believed to have been stolen.

Department of Transportationengineer Ken Murphy says his office did not touch them.

Even though it is illegal for anything to be placed on a state right-of-way, they will not remove a roadside memorial unless it is a safety or maintenance hazard.

"If we could identify who put them out there, we would notify them it is a hazard and give them the opportunity to take it down. Obviously, if it was an immediate hazard to the traveling public, we'd have them take it down immediately," said Murphy.

Dorn says the thief will not win out. She will put up another cross to remember Deavers and the way his life came to a tragic end.

"We want everybody to remember when they are out riding on the road to be safe and be careful, so someone else's son, boyfriend, husband, father isn't dead," said Dorn.

A police detective said these types of cases are nearly impossible to investigate because if you place something on public property, you take the risk that it may not be there when you return.