Reporter: Sally Delta
Madison Heights, VA - Sunday didn't feel like much of a holiday for one Amherst County family. On the way to Easter service, the family of Brittni Coffey discovered the cross left as a memorial to her had been removed.
You may remember, 17-year-old Coffey died in a car accident in February. The makeshift memorial was placed on the side of the road, with flowers and stuffed animals where the accident happened. Now, it's all gone.
The Hans Hill community had once asked them to take the cross down, over liability concerns. In fact, Hans Hill gave the family two weeks to take the cross down, because they didn't want to be held legally responsible if someone stopped there, got injured or hit by a passing car. But the cross remained. Now, someone - and we don't know who - has taken it down.
Brittni Coffey's family have to pass her crash site every day.
"That's a natural thing to glance and keep on going, blow the horn, to tell her hello. And as we looked over, we saw the cross was gone and all the belongings were gone as well," said Lori Mason, Brittni's mom.
All the stuffed animals, pictures and notes are no longer there.
"Nothing left, just grass and a trash bag," said Tricia Tyree, Brittni's sister.
The makeshift memorial was an effort to make passing by a little less painful for the family and everyone else who loved Brittni.
"It hurts us to know that all the kids and people that put all those special things and memories, trying to cope with this all around her cross, all that's gone too,"said Brittni's mom.
The mystery is, who actually took it down. Though the Hans Hill Neighborhood Association had requested the family remove the cross, everyone there we spoke with says they had no part in this. We knocked on doors and made phone calls to Hans Hill and one representative we spoke with says they have no idea what happened to the cross and have no further comment. In fact quite a few Hans Hill residents called us to share their disappointment.
"It was gut-wrenching. I just felt that if someone was going to be that insensitive that they could have picked a different time," said Sam McConaghy, Hans Hill resident for 15 years.
"To cause extra pain on a day when we're trying to get through the holidays without here, there are no words to be said," said Brittni's mom.
"I mean, we were expecting to give her a card, candy, and her own Easter basket, but we can't," said Tricia Tyree, Brittni's sister. "This is her first Easter gone."
The family asks that whoever took the memorial down to please not throw it away. Some of the things taken were Brittni's and they'd like to have those returned if possible.