Widow Pleas to Bring Deputy’s Memorial Bench Back

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SLOUGHHOUSE --

The unsolved theft of a memorial bench tied to to unsolved murder of Deputy Jeff Mitchell has his widow speaking out almost nine years after he was killed in the line of duty.

"How could you take something from a place like this? I mean it's almost akin to desecrating a grave site," said Crystal Mitchell, standing near

It had been about two months since she'd been to the Sloughhouse site near where her husband was shot in the head while patrolling a rural part of Sacramento county.

But, when she visited the memorial on May 20, she discovered the black aluminum bench placed there for reflection had been ripped off.

That night, deputies who once shared patrol of the area with Mitchell came to look for clues into what happened.

A silver metal replacement bench is now nearby while the hunt continues for the thief.

"Disappointed, really. It's hard to believe that people act this way. It's really hard to understand that people can't get what this means," she said.

The hunt also continues for those who killed Deputy Mitchell right across the street from where his memorial now stands.

The 38-year-old pulled over what he considered to be a suspicious Chevy van at 3:27 a.m. on October 27, 2006.

That van had no license plate.

One hour and 18 minutes later, officers sent to check on him because he hadn't called in found his body about two miles from the intersection of Meiss and Dillard Roads.

"Some of the signs that you'll see around my memorial, never lose hope, never give up, never forget.  I have faith that his killers will be brought to justice and the department is behind that 100 percent," she said.

When it comes to the bench, Crystal says someone could drop it off anywhere under the cover of darkness with a note.

She's just hoping for a chance to get it back.