DALLAS - Stuffed animals, balloons, cards and other items that are part of a large memorial to a teenage murder victim will be removed from outside a vacant house in the 2200 block of East Kiest Boulevard in Dallas.
The small, boarded-up white house is a haunting reminder of the torturous tragedy that happened at the location back in July 2017.
“Every time you pass this house you think about her,” said neighbor Jessica McGee.
Messages scribbled on the walls are also part of the memorial to 13-year-old Shavon Randle. The teen was kidnapped from her relatives’ home in Lancaster. Her body was found at the Kiest house days later.
High weeds are blocking some of those handwritten notes. They're also shading the memories other community members left behind for 19-year-old Michael Titus, whose body was also found in the house.
Devin McClelon said he wasn’t surprised seeing hundreds of community members stopping by to visit the memorial.
“It showed how much people cared about that young lady," he said.
For weeks, neighbors have been watching members of the community leave teddy bears, candles and balloons. Most of the items are damaged now from bad weather and the elements. Some of the items are piled and scattered across the lawn.
Neighbor Jessica McGee said the conditions outside the home are becoming an eyesore.
”It’s needs to be cleared,” McGee said. “Everything cleared. The house, the weeds, the grass, the trash. Everything.”
The city of Dallas announced it will be sending a crew from code compliance to the house at 10 a.m. Friday. They'll cut down the high weeds and remove the memorial.
Bernice McGee says the items have been spilling onto an already ragged sidewalk, making it hard for her to get around with her walker.
”I shouldn’t have to walk in the street to get to the store," she said. "But this baby shouldn’t have had to die over some damned drugs. That’s all I got to say.”
The house and what happened here has been emotional for many in the community.
”When they see it gone it’s going to hurt a lot,” said Gerald Mosley.
Mosley works nearby. He's among those who believe removing the memorial now may be too soon.
”That’s going to take a lot out of people when you remove that memorial,” Mosley explained. “It’s still soaking in, and the investigation is still going on, and they parents are still mourning.”
Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway is still asking community members to submit ideas on what they'd like to see at the location. The city of Dallas is urging community members instead of buying items to place at the memorial to consider contributing to organizations or homeless shelters that assists families.
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