9 On Your Side Border Watch
Memorial on border fence still standing, family refuses to take it down
Reporter: Steve Nuñez
DOUGLAS, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - A showdown at the Douglas border continued between a family who erected a memorial for a teen shot and killed at the fence and the U.S. Border Patrol. The federal agency ordered the family to take it down Tuesday. But, the family is standing firm and refuses to remove the memorial.
Today, a sorrowful mother mostly silent in her mourning, returned to the vigil site dedicated to her 19-year old son Carlos LaMadrid. The vigil is decorated with a cross, flowers and messages of remembrance.
Guadalupe hopes the Border Patrol will hear her cries to respect the memorial as her sacred ground. Tomorrow marks four months since agents shot and killed the teenager.
Although an American, LaMadrid tried to scale the fence and escape into Mexico while others threw rocks at the agents. It turns out, he was carrying 48-pounds of marijuana in his SUV.
Nydia Valenzuela, who was engaged to LaMadrid, believes the Border Patrol should now make an exception to its policy that prohibits placing memorials on the fence.
9 On Your Side Reporter Steve Nuñez asked: "Are you surprised it's still here?"
"Yes," answered Valenzuela.
Nuñez asked: "The Border Patrol has taken down other memorials such as this one, why is it fair for you to keep this one up?"
"Because it was their fault," said Valenzuela.
Nuñez asked: "But there's been a lot of people who have said had he not been carrying drugs this would not have happened?"
"Why did they have to shoot him so many times and kill him," said Valenzuela. "I think that's just an excuse."
9oys wanted to know why the Border Patrol, who ordered the family to take it down Tuesday, hasn't taken down the memorial itself.
Today, the Border Patrol would only tell 9 On Your Side it's working to find a happy medium for both sides but still plans to remove it. They would not say when.
Walter Howe, who lives by the border, empathizes with the family but said the memorial should be taken down.
"Every time a border patrolman gets killed we don't see flowers put up or anything else on the fence," said Howe.
If the memorial stays or is taken down, Guadalupe said (speaking Spanish) she'll continue to visit this spot along the border fence at least four times per day.
Nydia said, "Nothing can bring him back, we just want to be here."
Last year, the Border Patrol forced a border watch group to remove 16,000 American flags its members posted on the fence.