Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

Rare is the crime which seems to lack any reason.

The reason might be specious.

It might be ridiculous.

But it can be understood, if not condoned.

We're perplexed, though, as to what would motivate someone to first

damage, and then steal, a cross marking the place where a 17-year-old

girl was killed in a car crash.

In March, Kayla Petty of Baker City died in the accident along Highway 7 near Phillips Reservoir.

Kayla's grandfather, Gary Wentworth, fashioned a cross from steel.

Her parents set the cross among the rocks between the highway and the Powder River.

During the spring and summer, Kayla's friends and relatives added poems, flowers and other mementoes to the cross.

Then, in late August, Kayla's parents learned that the cross was gone.

Her father, Dennis, found the cross in the brush beside the river. He replaced the cross.

Two weeks later, on the afternoon of Sept. 12, someone took the cross.

Two angels, one glass and one wooden, were broken.

Whoever is responsible, both for the vandalism and the theft, could hardly have been ignorant of the reason Kayla's cross was erected.

Yet that person, or people, decided that a monument to a girl who died before she graduated from high school was unworthy of the slimmest shred of respect.

The shame of such an act can't be calculated.

But the small measure of redemption that's still possible can be.

If someone still has the cross, he or she can return it to Dennis and Tricia Petty's home at 1425 Baker St.

If the cross has been disposed of, the cretin responsible could at least mail the couple a letter, and enclose $300 to cover the value of the steel.

Although a heartfelt apology, we suspect, would be worth a lot more than that to Kayla's family.