Ballinger family asks for son’s missing memorial cross to be returned

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WINTERS, Texas (KTAB) – A roadside cross for a 23-year-old Ballinger man has been missing since Friday. His family now waits to see if the memorial will be returned and if they’ll get an answer as to why it was taken in the first place.

“My baby lost his life out here and they took his cross,” laments Brandy Harrell, mother of the late Tanner Keeney.

Keeney died on April 17th near the intersection of 153 East and FM 2647 outside Ballinger. His sister, LaCrisha Castro, says her brother missed a stop sign at the intersection, was T-boned by an oncoming car and pushed off the roadway. The crash injuring his now recovered 1-year-old and killing his pet dog.

A wrought iron cross bearing his name and picture were erected at the crash site about a month and a half ago. Castro says the last known sighting of the cross indicates it had already been pulled out of the ground.

“The last known sighting was Thursday and they said it was laying down on its side and was laying down about ten feet away from the hole,” said Castro.

Castro and Harrell say it would have taken much effort to pull the cross out of the ground. Harrell estimates it weighed 100 pounds, Castro says it was about as tall as she is roughly 5 feet.

“It would have taken two people,” said Harrell.

The women say they’ve called everyone they can think of who would have had a valid reason for pulling the memorial out of the ground like mowing or land maintenance. They could not think of a person who would take the sign out of malice.

“The landowner did not take it, the highway department did not remove it. I just feel like a cruel behavior has taken place here,” said Castro.

It does appear the cross was taken intentionally, adding confusion to the feelings of the family for whom grief is still new.

“You drive past crosses all over the highways and they’ve been there for years and it was up for about a month and a half and it was gone. So it’s frustrating,” said Castro.

Keeney’s mother says the family has no interest in pursuing criminal charges, she only wants her son’s memorial returned.

“We just want it back,” Harrell strains.

If you have any information for Keeney’s family about the missing cross, his sister has asked to be contacted through email at You may also email the reporter of this story at to forward information to the family.

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