By Michael Abeyta


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.

Rita Gutierrez-Garcia (credit: CBS)

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.

(credit: CBS)

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.

(credit: CBS)

“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.

(credit: CBS)

“I know a lot of contributions came from the police department or council members and the community itself,” said Satur.

(credit: CBS)

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.”

Diane Romero (credit: CBS)

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.

Michael Abeyta

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