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Gravestone of CHP Officer Pedro stolen

Modified: Thursday, Oct 11th, 2012

California Highway Patrol Officer Rich Valdez is joined by former CHP Officer Debbie Bratby at the gravesite of fallen officer John Pedro after someone stole Pedro’s headstone. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

SANTA CRUZ — Two teams of investigators are looking into the disappearance of the gravestone of late California Highway Patrol Officer John Pedro.

Workers at Oakwood Memorial Park, near Dominican Hospital, noticed the 200-pound gravestone missing Sunday and contacted authorities, said CHP Officer Rich Valdez.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office and the CHP are conducting their own investigations into the incident. Pedro’s widow and former CHP Officer Colleen Gilmartin has offered a $5,000 reward for the arrest of the gravestone thief.

Pedro, a Watsonville native, died at the Highway 129 exit from Highway 1 in Watsonville on June 3, 2002, in a single-car crash 10 minutes into his morning shift. The CHP dedicated a section of Highway 1 in Watsonville to Pedro with two 4-by-16-foot green and white signs several years later.

Then, in 2005, each of the signs was destroyed by vandals. In one case, someone felled a sign with a power saw and later returned to crudely hack out Pedro’s name from the green-and-white sign.

For the complete article see the 10-11-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-11-2012 paper.

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