Memorial dedicated to slain children |

Memorial dedicated to slain children

F.T. Norton
Sonia Klemptner, sister of slain 9-year-old Krystal Steadman, kneels on the Capitol Mall in Carson City near a tree dedicated to slain children. Rick Gunn /Tribune News Service

A memorial for Nevada’s slain children was dedicated April 23 on the Legislative grounds and two similar memorials for Douglas and Washoe counties are in the works.

“All children of Nevada need to have a voice and need to be heard,” Tonja Brown, founder of the Nevada Children’s Memorial Fund, said during the short ceremony dedicated to a slain South Lake Tahoe girl.

Brown said she was prompted to act because of controversy over the state’s removal of a roadside memorial on Highway 50 West for Krystal Steadman, 9, who was murdered in March 2000.

The Nevada Children’s Memorial, which features a red maple tree, bench and bronze plaque, cost $3,500 to erect and was funded by donations from the Nevada Broadcaster’s Association, Reno Gallery of Furniture and private parties.

Brown’s goal is to raise enough money to put a living tree memorial in every Nevada county. Douglas County will be the site of the next memorial dedication, she said. Washoe County’s memorial will be funded in part by donations and by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department.

“I want to express my deep appreciation for the great effort you have put forth in planting this living tree memorial,” Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn wrote in a letter to Brown.

Guinn announced “The Krystal Steadman Memorial Award” which will be given to those people in the future who are responsible for helping locate a child reported missing through the state’s Amber Alert Plan.

Krystal’s photograph is in the state’s Amber Alert response plan manual.

Sonya Klempner, 29, Krystal’s sister, attended Friday’s memorial dedication.

“This is nice,” she said. “All we’re left with is memories.”

Klempner said she hopes the memorial will serve as a reminder to watch out for children. “This is making people more aware.”

Brown said she will try to raise enough money for future memorials, but isn’t sure what the public’s response will be.

“If citizens aren’t willing to sponsor this, what can I do?” she asked. “I’m just one person.”

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