By Kristin Bien (firstname.lastname@example.org)
7:12 AM EST, December 6, 2012
The family of a Goshen man murdered earlier this year is grieving again. They believe someone stole the cross from his memorial – at the site where he was shot to death.
It has been almost 9 months since 26-year-old John Staub was shot and killed.
"It was March 22 when it happened," said family friend Jessica Beachy.
It hasn't gotten any easier for those who knew Staub.
"It tore me apart," says Staub's father, John Stilley, "It tore everybody apart."
His family says Staub, a father of three, heard a fight was happening at a party that night and went to make sure a friend was okay. As he and his brother were driving away, someone fired a gun at their truck.
"He [John's brother] said the people had been standing at this building," said Stilley as he stood at the corner of Chicago and Indiana Avenues in Goshen, "they started opening fire on them and like seven shots hit the car. Two people got shot. My son is one of them and it killed him."
The brothers were able to drive to a nearby gas station, but Staub wasn't going to make it. He died in his brother's lap.
Beachy set up a memorial at the corner of Chicago and Indiana Avenues – she placed a cross there bearing John’s name and picture. A vigil was held there shortly after his murder. Since the family can't afford to place his remains in a cemetery, that intersection is where they go to remember.
"Because I feel this was the last spot he was alive before he took his last breath," said Beachy.
But last week, the original cross was stolen.
"I feel like this act is just as bad as vandalizing someone's headstone," said Beachy, "Because right now we don't have anywhere to go, this is our spot."
They hope whoever took the cross puts it back, so the family can focus on remembering.
"March 22 will never be forgotten. We think about it every day," said Stilley.
The property is owned by the city, but both the Goshen Street Department and the Police Department say they did not remove the cross. The Old Bag Factory, a series of shops, is across the street but the general manager said none of their employees removed the cross.
The family wants whoever took the cross to put it back. No questions asked.
Five people were charged and sentenced in connection with Staub's murder – one of those people, 22-year-old Daniel Heflin, was sentenced to 90 years in prison.
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