THE mother of two Baranduda girls who died in a crash this year wants to come face-to-face with vandals who ripped up crosses from their roadside memorial and dumped them at Wodonga cemetery.
It’s the second time in just over a month the memorial to Emily and Brooke Salske has been trashed, and now their mum Debbie Andrew wants to meet the culprits — so she can show them the added grief they are inflicting.
“I want them to meet me and my family and my friends, I want to show them videos of the girls so they can see what type of girls they were and get a sense of how very missed they are,” she said.
“I don’t believe this person has ever lost anyone they love if they can do this.”
EDITORIAL:Memorials for families
Emily, 10, and Brooke, 7, died on January 31 after the car they were travelling in left the road and struck a tree on Baranduda Boulevard.
That tree had since been transformed into a memorial, with flowers and messages left for the girls, mostly by school friends from Baranduda Primary School.
But on Thursday, the two white crosses set in concrete were pulled up and replaced with bags of rubbish; and a note was pinned to the tree stating: “Since you dumped your rubbish here, you won’t mind if we do the same. Cheers, your friendly C.F.E.R.”
CFER is understood to stand for Citizens for Equal Rights.
Another memorial cross further down the boulevard dedicated to motorcyclist Matthew Bownds, who died in a crash in September last year, was also removed.
All three crosses were found at Wodonga cemetery on Saturday.
Ms Andrew said another note had been found pinned to the tree several weeks earlier, a “poem” criticising the crash victims and stating memorials belonged in cemeteries.
The crosses were ripped out for the first time in a vandalism attack last month.
Ms Andrew asked the vandals to think about who their actions were really affecting.
“That tree means a lot to the kids (of Baranduda), it’s part of their grieving process,” she said.
“I don’t see how it’s an eyesore, it’s always kept nice and clean and tidy.”
She said they would erect it once again.
Family and friends took to social media yesterday to condemn the vandalism as “disgusting” and “heartless”.
Others still pointed out roadside memorials acted as a reminder to drivers to slow down and drive responsibly.
Ms Andrew said she had previously spoken with Wodonga Council, VicRoads and Wodonga police, and all told her the memorial did not break any laws.
Yesterday, Sgt Amanda Meagher asked people to be respectful of such sites.
“If anyone has an issue with them, we ask that they bring it up properly with either VicRoads or us,” she said.