The death of Brianna Lopez revealed perhaps the most brutal …
Updated: Wednesday, 21 Jul 2010, 1:14 PM MDT
Published : Tuesday, 20 Jul 2010, 6:55 PM MDT
DONA ANA, N.M. (KRQE) - There is now a worldwide effort to honor Brianna Lopez, the 5-month-old Doña Ana girl killed by her family in 2002.
Eight years after her death, the tomb of Baby Brianna, as she is affectionately called, is locked up in a cage in the Doña Ana Cemetery. The cage was put up by Brianna's family to reportedly keep the community out.
There is now a petition circulating around the world to get the cage removed. That petition has been signed by 202,254 people so far and continues to grow.
The Doña Ana County District Attorney's Office and a non-profit organization, The Remember Me Foundation, are leading the effort.
"It's been very challenging," Chief Deputy District Attorney Amy Orlando told KRQE News 13. "Nobody seems to claim the cemetery, so finding the owner to try to get them to agree to remove it has been very difficult."
Orlando said a DA's investigator has been assigned to find out who the cemetery belongs to. They also want to find out what rights Brianna's family has.
After Brianna's death on July 19, 2002, no family members claimed Brianna's body. Instead, the community raised money and paid for her funeral and burial in a pauper's grave.
Brianna's family erected the cage surrounding it a short time later and put a lock on it, preventing anyone from leaving mementos.
"The one person we have been dealing with at the cemetery is the groundskeeper," Orlando said. "He has to try to respect their wishes somewhat. He tells us they have obtained an attorney."
The DA's office isn't sure how far this fight will go. If an owner can't be determined, it's possible a judge may be asked for a court order to remove the cage.
Right now the DA's office isn't sure if that will be overstepping its legal bounds. But it's clear this fight isn't going to end any time soon.
"So many people have not let it go," Orlando said. "When the cage went up they were outraged saying that's horrible, but instead of letting it go, the world has just gotten involved and will not let it go.
"Nobody cared for her in life. Even in death the family is not letting her be loved or be honored. We just want to give her respect".
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