The widow of a man murdered while hiking on a Marin County trail says she's shocked and saddened after a memorial to him vanished last week.
Steve Carter, 67, was killed while hiking on a trail in the Loma Alta Open Space Preserve, near Fairfax, in October. The three suspects are awaiting trial on murder charges.
A memorial dedicated to Carter, a popular tantra teacher in the North Bay, had become a fixture on the trail for three months. But a week ago most of it disappeared. Lokita Carter started the memorial to her late husband. Now she wants to find out, where did it go?
"I do sometimes think it's all a big bad dream," Lokita said Thursday. "And then maybe one time we'll wake up at our home and say, 'Gosh, imagine this horrible dream I had.'"
The family's dog, Coco, was with Steve on the trail and was shot too. She is finally out of rehab.
"She links me to Steve because she's been a part of our life together," Lokita said.
Another link was the memorial. Up for three months, it included gifts and mementos of Steve, as well as a stainless steel plaque.
"This place became a place where people would mourn, because Steve was a very popular man," Lokita said.
Last week, Marin County Parks requested Lokita take the memorial down, telling her she needed a permit. When she showed up to do so, the plaque was the only part of the memorial remaining.
"I was shocked. I was shaken," Lokita said. "I just, I just didn't know what to think."
Another uphill battle for Lokita, already battling breast cancer and dealing with the loss of her husband: His lasting memory on the trail is now gone.
"Whoever it might have been...should have the integrity to return the items because they were meaningful," Lokita said. A GoFundMe page has been setup to help raise money to pay for her expenses at the Marin Cancer Institute.
Attempts to reach Marin County Parks for comment were not successful.
The three suspects in Carter's murder are due back in court in May.