The memory of 12-year-old homicide victim Georgia Lee Moses lives on at Petaluma City Hall.
An angel sculpture that honors Moses, whose 1997 strangling remains unsolved, stood for more than a decade at the Petaluma Boulevard South ramps to Highway 101 in Petaluma. But because of reconstruction of the interchange, it had to be relocated.
The metal artwork now stands at a patch of grass at Petaluma's city offices on English Street, near a tree planted to honor a late city employee and across the street from the arts center named for another slain girl, Polly Klaas.
It will be rededicated at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in a ceremony organized by several Petaluma women who had become de facto caretakers of the monument.
Moses lived in Santa Rosa with her mentally ill mother and a convicted child molester. The pre-teen often looked after her 7-year-old sister. She led a troubled childhood, regularly leaving home for days at a time and being absent from school.
On Aug. 13, 1997, she was seen about 10 p.m. with a 25- to 30-year-old man near a white, four-door car at Dutton Avenue and Sebastopol Road, law enforcement authorities said. Her body was found Aug. 22 under a tree near the Petaluma freeway ramp. She'd been strangled. With few solid leads for law enforcement follow, Moses' killer has never been identified.
Several years after the death, two San Francisco firefighters created the memorial sculpture and in March 2000 it was dedicated by about 100 people who gathered at the freeway entrance.
Over the years, Petaluma resident Kit Lofroos and a few friends took it upon themselves to pick up trash and trim weeds around the cement-mounted sculpture that drivers whizzed past each day.
When Caltrans left a note on it this summer warning that it would have to be moved, Lofroos, who is on the city pedestrian and bike committee, asked the city parks commission if the monument could be moved to city land.
"The last thing we wanted was for the statue to be thrown out," she said. "The thought of that just puts a hole in my heart."
Moses' killing also spurred the 2006 opening in Santa Rosa of The Children's Village, a home for youngsters who have been neglected, abused and passed around. Executive Director Anjana Utarid will attend today's rededication of the monument.
"The village exists to honor her life," she said. "In honoring her life, we are keeping children safe, nurturing them and giving them a second chance at childhood."
The killing happened about 8 or 9 months before Lofroos moved to Petaluma, but it struck a chord with her.
"I think of myself at 12, and how the world was just coming into focus," she said. "I guess I was just concerned about her. She'd been laying up by the side of the road.
"Her energy can rest, finally. We can't forget her."
(You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)