Grieving family says memorial cross on highway was stolen, then dumped

It's been just over a year since Anthony and Dominic Mello lost their father Paul to a drunk driver on US 19 in Hudson. Now, that heartbreak and frustration have resurfaced after the memorial created to honor their dad disappeared overnight. The family is now left with many questions after the once-lost memorial was found in a Brooksville dump.

"My mom came into my room and opened my door and showed me a picture and told me that somebody had stolen my dad's cross. I was very sad, very," 9-year-old Dominic told FOX 13.

The over six-foot-tall cross was a labor of love. It was engraved with Mello's name across the front and complete with notes from those who knew him best. 

"Me, my brother and a whole bunch of my dad's friends wrote things on the back of it," explained Dominic.

Pieces of Mello's bike that were recovered on the night of the crash were also attached to the cross.

"That's a memorial, that's something that means a lot to a lot of people, and you can't just take that away," said Dominic's older brother, 12-year-old Anthony.

The cross's disappearance has left Mello's sons wondering why someone would want to take something that meant so much.  

"I just don't get why somebody would take a cross away from people that probably have lost somebody," said Dominic.

While the memorial has since been found, the boys are still thankful that the memories of their dad can't be stolen. 

"We used to play a lot of sports. He got me into playing football for my team and basketball for my team and all of that," said Anthony.

 "He was honestly the best dad in the world," Dominic added.

The family has filed a report with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. They are hoping to get more information about who may be responsible from nearby security cameras.