Brenda Veneruzzo says she was devastated to see a memorial to her daughter Jasmine along the Twin City Crossroad has been torn apart.
And it now appears the Ministry of Transportation is responsible.
Jasmine Veneruzzo died in December 2008, the result of a car crash, and since then the memorial has grown from a cross to include a Christmas tree bought by Jasmine’s grandmother, three big butterflies, flowers, solar lights and an engraved star.
But much of that memorial has been removed, which Brenda Veneruzzo only found out as she drove past the memorial on Saturday.
“To my beautiful Jasmine … I went down to your memorials site to find your cross broken in half and everything taken, including the Christmas tree that Grandma got for you three years (ago) and the star that your sister got engraved and placed on the tree on Christmas Day,” Veneruzzo wrote on a Facebook memorial page to her daughter.
“I don’t have the heart to tell your Grandma what someone did. I cried and though ‘who would ever do this and who would break a cross in half?’ The only thing they didn’t take was your angel, as it is cemented in. I love and miss you every second.”
An MTO spokeswoman confirmed on Monday ministry workers have removed some of the display for safety reasons.
"From time to time, individuals place flowers, crosses, signs and other memorial displays at the scene of a collision. We fully appreciate the importance of memorial displays and are respectful of the intention," said MTO spokeswoman Annemarie Piscopo in an email response.
"It’s also important to ensure that all memorials placed within the provincial right-of-way are consistent with our responsibility to provide and maintain a safe provincial highway system. This memorial display has been carefully scaled down to ensure minimal distraction to drivers, and brought to a nearby patrol yard for safekeeping."
Reaction on Facebook, when it was unsure of the culprit, was swift.
Rylee Caruso wrote, “Wow, that’s horrible and who would do something like that?”
R.J. Elliott echoed her thoughts.
“Wow, whoever took them has no heart.”
Mary Schafer called it horrible.
“This obviously represented sacred ground to someone. Whoever could do this has no heart or soul. To take and break things from a memorial site like that is unspeakable. How devastating for you. We love and wish you peace,” she wrote.
A family lawyer has been in touch with the Ministry of Transportation.