Edmonton mom seeks answers after memorial crosses taken twice from crash site where son died

An Edmonton mother is speaking out after not one, but two memorial crosses were taken from the crash site where her 20-year-old son, Braeden Bumphrey, was killed.

Bumphrey died in 2015 near Elk Island Park east of Edmonton.

“He lost control of his vehicle on a gravel road and ended up in a ditch, and he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, and he was ejected from the vehicle,” said Marianne Armstrong, Bumphrey’s mother.

To honour and remember Bumphrey, a memorial with a wooden cross was placed roadside on land under Lamont County jurisdiction but also beside a private property. After about five years, it disappeared last fall.

Image of Braeden’s memorial wooden cross. Marianne Armstrong/Global News

Desperate for answers, Armstrong put a call out on social media, and to her surprise, she got a response.

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“The lady who removed the cross reached out to me and told me that she did take it,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said the woman told her she destroyed the cross, despite the family saying it has county permission and it was not on private land.

“She said to me that she didn’t want to look at it every day from her front window or drive by it every day when she would go to work. But upon investigation, there is no house built yet, there’s some trees but she doesn’t live there,” Armstrong said.

When news of what happened got out, funds were raised for a new cross, but this time, one made from metal.

A metal cross made for Braeden Bumphrey that is missing. Marianne Armstrong/Global News

“My daughter came out about two weeks after the cross was put in, and it was gone again,” Armstrong said.

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Armstrong said she asked the woman if she had taken the cross a second time but did not get a response.

Global News reached out to the property owner but an interview was declined.

“(There’s) no reason for somebody to go that far out of their way to go take something that doesn’t even belong to them of somebody they don’t even know,” said Kennedy Bumphrey, Braeden’s sister.

Alberta Transportation said memorials generally are allowed but on a temporary basis. For long-term memorials, families are contacted with alternate options.

Read more: As new survey circulates, grieving families renew push to protect Halifax roadside memorials

The family said it hopes someone will return the second cross and wants to come to an agreement with the property owner about maintaining any type of memorial.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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