A Yelm widow says her heart is broken after a roadside memorial cross built for her late husband went missing.
Tasha Cavanaugh’s young children helped paint a blue, 3-foot wooden cross in memory of their dad and her husband, Tyler Reynolds, who was killed in a crash two months ago in the 18000 block of Bald Hills Road.
On Halloween, the cross mysteriously disappeared.
Lucy Mills with Thurston County Public Works said her crews didn’t remove the structure, which was cemented in the ground about a half of a block away from the fatal crash scene. A spokeswoman with the Washington State Department of Transportation said state crews didn’t remove it, either.
“I think it was just some teenagers on Halloween, or something, which would be messed up,” said Cavanaugh, 25.
“I was just disgusted that someone would do that. And he deserves so much better than that.”
On Sept. 9, Reynolds was driving on Bald Hills Road when his vehicle rolled, and he was ejected. He died from blunt force trauma to the head, said Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock.
Investigators found alcohol at the scene, but Cavanaugh said she thinks it was an unopened bottle of alcohol that was broken during the crash.
“He bought me a bottle and it cracked open,” she said. “He wasn’t drunk or anything like that. …He never drank and drove.”
Toxicology tests usually take eight to 10 weeks, and they haven’t come back yet, Warnock said.
Cavanaugh has a different theory on what happened.
“He was exhausted,” she said. “I think that it was the roads, being the first rain. He might have been going too fast. That is a bad corner.”
Reynolds, 34, graduated from Yelm High School in 2002. He loved fishing and the Seahawks. He was a journeyman carpenter.
“Anything he wanted to do, he would accomplish it,” Cavanaugh said.
“He had, like, a billion dollar smile,” said his mom, Lynnette Reynolds. “Honest. Hard working. ... Loved Tasha and the kids, loved them more than anything.”
Reynolds was the sole support for his family, so an online fundraiser has been launched on Go Fund Me for his wife and their kids, ages 6, 2, and 9 months.
“We’ve gotten some help and that is so appreciated,” Cavanaugh said. “We really need it right now.”
After the cross went missing, Cavanaugh wrote a post about it on a Facebook page for Yelm area residents. Several people offered to help provide supplies so that she can build a new one.
She’d like the original cross to be returned, but doesn’t think that will happen.
“It was heartbreaking because my kids worked really hard on the cross,” Cavanaugh said.
“I’m hoping to replace it.”