ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It was an unimaginable crime, a Rockford mom and her two young sons shot and killed, then their home set on fire to cover a killer's tracks. Now the family of Natasha Cleary hopes to install a permanent memorial for her and her boys.
"How fast they grow! Kids grow!"
Cynthia Horton often wonders what her two grandsons would be like today, if Marquwon Owens would have played football in high school, or what kind of finger paintings Katarion Friar would have made in kindergarten. Those kinds of questions that will never be answered, nearly three years ago the boys and their mother Natasha Cleary were shot and killed, and then their home was set on fire.
"When somebody dies like this you don’t forget, because it was an impact on us and on our lives and yeah, it'll hurt but we are slowly recovering from it,” says Cleary’s mother Cynthia Horton. “I just wanted to keep my daughter's name alive until the case is closed.”
That's why Horton is now asking the city to give Canterbury Lane, where the family of three lived, an honorary title. It would be called the Natasha Cleary Family Lane, to stand as a memorial for a family that was taken too soon.
"I just hope that in Rockford, IL, we can set an example to other communities that we are trying to work as a community with the violence that is happening in our community, that we can sit there and support the people that are going thru these situations and that we are there for each other,” says Horton.
She has a small room in her house where she goes to talk to her daughter and grandsons, a room filled with pictures and mementos, a place where Horton can reflect on the joy they brought to her life.
"Tasha wasn't a violent person. She should have never gone this way, her or her boys. They were full of laughter. The boys are smiling, she's smiling. Maybe this is her way of telling us ‘Hey, I’m ok, just be happy’"
One sign will be installed if the city council approves the request. You've probably seen them around town; they're brown and give streets an honorary name. They cost about 25 dollars to install.
Horton checked in with police at Christmas, they told her they didn’t have any new information. she is hoping to find closure to case soon.