Property owner asks family to take down descansos

Created: 06/26/2014 5:39 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4

You see them all over New Mexico, especially on the sides of busy roads or intersections. Descansos, or memorials for those who lost their lives.

One San Juan County family did the same thing for their late son, except the property owner has taken issue.

As she walks toward the site marked with a cross, Julie Phillips explains, “This is where our son took his last breath.”

3 or 4 times a day, David and Julie Philips walk the well beaten path to a small memorial honoring their son.

“He worked hard, he helped other people,” said David.

“He loved his wife and he loved his daughters,” further explains Julie.

Davey Philips took his own life a year ago on some undeveloped land near Kirtland. The land used to be an apple orchard, 50 or more years ago.

The man that owns the property is trying to sell the land and has asked the family to take the memorial down.

“And I tried to explain the importance to our hearts, what this means to the whole family,” said Julie.

The owner tells KOB Eyewitness News four that he feels for the family and they have been reasonable, but he is reluctant to take prospective buyers to the property while the memorial is there.

“The only alternative we would have by taking this down is another good bye to our son,” said Julie through tears.

The Philips’ say that they just wish they could leave the memorial until the land is sold or developed---but the law is not on their side.

“It’s just so private and personal here it would just be sad to have to take it down.”

The family plans to have the memorial down by the weekend.

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