News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012
HEPHZIBAH, Ga. -- Sarah Riffe and Michael Perry died in March of last year. Then, a month later, Riffe's mother was killed in a car crash. Now, more than a year later, the family is trying to understand who would commit such a cruel act.
"I kept wondering who would do something like that. Who would have the nerve to burn two crosses down?" said Riffe's sister Alanna Clark.
They're nice and white from afar, but underneath this new coat of paint is shriveled, black wood after someone set Riffe and Perry's roadside memorial on fire.
"To me, that's like if someone was to set her and Mikey on fire. You just don't do that," Clark said.
These crosses aren't just pieces of wood; they mean a whole lot more.
McCombs Road is the place where Riffe and Perry died after they were hit by a Jeep coming around the curve in Hephzibah in spring of 2011.
Now all that's left are two scorched crosses.
"They can keep burning them. We're just gonna keep putting them back up," Clark said.
Wood crosses can be replaced, but Alanna says there was one special piece of the memorial they will never get back.
"My mom wrote on those crosses, and she's not here to rewrite what she wrote," Clark said.
Clark's mother died in a car crash only a month after her sister and Perry were hit.
While the memory of that day is as dark as this wood, Clark says there is one ray of hope through it all, and it sits with a couple metal angels that don the top of the crosses.
"The angels didn't burn. 'Cause they're still watching. They're gonna be there forever," she said.
Soon, a couple of heartier crosses will be there, too.
"By next week, we should have metal crosses up. I'd like to see them try and burn those," Clark said.
The family has their suspicions about who may have done this. While it's not a criminal act, they still don't understand why someone would be so cruel.
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