LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – Family and friends are doing what they can to make sure a Longmont mother is not forgotten. Rita Gutierrez-Garcia disappeared more than a year ago.
Sunday was the first time in two years Diane Romero was able to throw a birthday party for her daughter.
“Last year we didn’t. Last year was more a time of mourning and worry and just wanting answers,” she said.
Rita disappeared after a night out with friends in Longmont on March 17, 2017. Police, friends and family members have searched, but so far, no one has been able to locate her.
“She’s been missing now for almost 13 months. We don’t have a good idea of where she’s at,” said Deputy Chief Jeff Satur with Longmont Police.
Sunday wasn’t about any of that. It was a birthday party complete with cupcakes and a gift for Diane. A bench dedicated to her daughter given to her by the community.
Longmont police came up with the idea to start a GoFundMe to buy the bench.
“I know a lot of contributions came from the police department or council members and the community itself,” said Satur.
They installed it in a place where Rita’s family comes to remember her, Longmont’s Thompson Park. Diane is very thankful.
“I am definitely going to come sit on that bench. I would come and sit on the ground by the trees, so now I’ll sit on the bench.”
She hopes this park with its newest addition will continue to be a place to remember Rita and honor her memory.
“To come and sit and talk to Rita. Whether it’s at the bench or at the tree or wherever. I hope it’s a peaceful place,” Diane said.