‘I was gut-wrenched.’ Memorial crosses found in canal, flowers and decorations ripped out of the ground
IDAHO FALLS — What once was a beautiful memorial that remembered two women killed in a crash recently disappeared and was found later in a canal.
The memorial was created after a fatal crash happened at 49th South and Holmes Avenue on Oct. 18, 2020. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office reported at the time that 19-year-old Omar Arias of Idaho Falls was traveling westbound on 49th South when he drove through a stop sign. Two 24-year-old women — Alexandria “Allie” Dalessi and Sarah Lenon were driving southbound when the two vehicles collided.
All three individuals passed away due to the crash. Arias had his own memorial with a cross. Dalessi and Lenon, who were best friends, had a cross together near the canal.
Dalessi’s father, Michael Dalessi, went to go visit her memorial on Aug. 22. Panic set in when he didn’t see any of the memorials. They were gone.
“Last Monday morning, everything was gone, all the crosses. We had Allie’s and Sarah’s lit up with solar lights and a wreath. (The cross is) cut out steel, powder coated and everything was gone. Even the water vase for people to put flowers in,” he said. “I was gut-wrenched.”
He explained it looked like someone had cleaned it up. He called the canal company but quickly found out they didn’t do it. Michael said they’ve had permission to put the cross there. Michael was then suggested by a friend to go and walk the canal. He found crosses in the water.
“I went back and walked the canal and sure enough, I found Allie and Sarah’s (cross) because it was the biggest and heaviest. Upstream, I found another metal one but I didn’t know who’s it was,” he said. “I looked for the third one, which belonged to the boy (Arias) and it was made out of wood. I am pretty confident it floated down the canal.”
Michael explained that he works in construction. He periodically goes by the memorial and maintains it. He said he leaves a vase out in front of Allie and Sarah’s memorial because when their friends come to town, they leave flowers, decorations, or painted rocks.
“Whoever did this, they threw away everything. They pulled out all the solar lights, threw away the painted rocks on all the crosses—they took the flowers, all of them on every cross. They just threw them in the canal,” he said.
He said nothing like this had ever happened before. He hopes it doesn’t happen again.
Michael collected the crosses he found and he intends to clean them and put them back. He reported what happened to local law enforcement and has a message for whoever might have done this.
“I hope none of them or their family members are ever put in the position of losing a child and then having a monument just thrown away,” he said.
The two-year anniversary of the crash is coming up this year on Oct. 18.
“They were all three great kids,” Michael said.