Carolyn Maifeld lost her granddaughter Amy Robinson in 1998 in a senseless tragedy.
“She was 19, she was mentally challenged, she was going to work and these two guys kidnapped her and brought her out here and murdered her,” she said.
A couple of years later, Maifeld placed a cross across the street from where the murder took place, thus creating Our Garden of Angels. She said the pain of losing a loved one never went away.
“A horrible, horrible feeling, and you know, she’s never going to be forgotten, that’s for sure,” she said.
The garden began with just three crosses when it opened back in 2000. But over the next 14 years it’s grown to include a 127 crosses. They represent families who all share a common loss.
“It might be a year, it might be 10 or 15 years, but they are still in the grieving process, and that’s where we can come in alongside of them and give them some physical aid, some emotional aid, and some spiritual aid if they’d like for us to do that,” said Chaplain Don Gieseke with Victim Relief Ministries’ Grand Prairie Chapter.
Victim Relief Ministries provided a picnic for the victims’ families at Our Garden of Angels, so they can gather together and focus on something positive.
Officer Heath Wester, who said one of their retired officer’s son and a sergeant are both being represented by crosses there.
“It’s very very moving. It’s like you just want to go give them a big hug and tell them it’s ok. I can’t imagine what they go through,” he said.
The families of the victims represented at the garden celebrate Christmas in July in honor of one of the victims’ birthdays every year. They also choose a charity to give to together. This year they chose Grand Prairie Police Department’s Santa Cop program.
“It basically helps the community, almost 500 families last year for Christmas and about 1600 kids that we took care of in Grand Prairie alone,” said Officer Wester.
“You’re talking low social economic families, who really don’t have toys or can’t afford toys for their kids, barely can afford food.” Maifeld said the process of giving helps her to heal. “You’re doing something positive and not dwelling on their deaths,” she said.
“You’re thinking about how they lived their life not how they died.”