• Roadside memorial for 2 girls killed 23 years ago mysteriously vanishes

    By: Blaine Tolison

    Updated:

    HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. - Sherry Harkey finds more than just sadness along Kerns Road in Huntersville, which is where her daughter, Mandi, and a friend, Laura, died in a car crash.

    The 16-year-old girls attended North Mecklenburg High School in April 1995 when they lost their lives in the wreck.

    "It is a sad place, but it's also to me a very sacred place," Harkey said.

    The crash site was turned into a memorial, and it has been that way for more than 20 years until last week.

    "My husband came by and he said, ‘Even the bench is gone,’" Harkey said.

    The bench has been ripped off its foundation. An angel and cross contributed by the community are also gone.

    "It was bunch of people that started this, and different people have left things over the years," Harkey said. "Sometimes I'll come out and find a letter, a note."

    Mandi and Laura were among five students from the class of 1997 who died during their high school years. They are now remembered as the “Angels of ’97.”

    [LINK: Angels of '97 Memorial Scholarship Organization]

    Resident Stacy Phillips was a little girl and remembers that year. She is outraged someone would disturb such a special place.

    "What I remember breaks your heart," Phillips said. "It always has a place there to remind people what had happened."

    A public works director with Huntersville told Phillips they didn't remove it.

    North Carolina Department of Transportation officials said they don’t know what happened to the memorial.

    "I would just like our stuff back, and I would just like it to be a respected place again like it always has been," Harkey said.

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