Grieving New Mexico father’s memorial for late daughter vandalized

New Mexico

A Roswell dad wants to know who would do such a thing after someone vandalized a memorial he put up for his teenage daughter.

Although the damage was minor, the pain it’s causing is not.

The J. Kenneth Bird Sanctuary in Roswell is a peaceful place where John Renteria comes to remember his late daughter, Keilah. 

“We loved coming here and I loved coming here,” said John Renteria. “She never liked being in a bad mood, she would never let you get away with being in a bad mood, she was just very adventurous, very creative.”

After his first Father’s Day without her, he and her friends took time making jars with colored sand inside them to add on to her memorial plaque inside the sanctuary.

Renteria said when he discovered someone had broken three of the four jars they put up, he was shocked.

“Disbelief. People are just inconsiderate, heartless, who could do that. They don’t have to know the person but they can obviously see the reason behind — it’s a memorial,” he said.

Renteria lost Keilah to suicide in March, two months after her 17th birthday. She was cremated — something the family believes she would’ve wanted.

He said the memorial gives them a place to remember her and keep her spirit alive — a place he visits every day after work.

“Somewhere where you can just sit and collect your thoughts and chat with her,” he said. “I put up for everyone to cherish her memory and get them curious about the kind of life she lived.”

Renteria said he didn’t report this to the police, because it’s not about getting justice. He said he made the vandalism public because he just wants people to respect the memorial.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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