NH family gather at the site of Michael Murphy’s fatal accident, Joseph Bougie
DOVER – Family and friends gathered on Sunday at the memorial site across the street from the double-killed wreckage that killed 22-year-old Michael “Mike” Murphy and 32-year-old Joseph Bougie in March.
With hands stained with dirt from the replacement of flowers at the Sixth Street memorial site, Ralph Rosenberger firmly attached a new handcrafted cross to the telephone pole where his stepson died in the flaming wreckage four months before. He and his wife, Sarah, Murphy’s mother, cleaned up the memorial and arranged rows of candles at the base of the telephone pole.
The original handcrafted cross nailed to the telephone pole at the crash site memorial was recently stolen. A few days after a section of the cross disappeared, other items also disappeared, including a gold rosary keychain, a fishing rod and other plastic rosary beads.
After more than a week of searching, Murphy’s family said they had “given up hope of finding her” and decided to replace the missing piece of the cross themselves.
“Sarah is still beside herself and still trying to figure out who would steal from a memorial site,” Rosenberger said. “It wasn’t knocked down. It wasn’t knocked down. It was neatly unscrewed and stolen. It’s certainly still heartbreaking and upsetting for us to think about it.”
Fourth month after the accident, on Sunday evening, Murphy’s family replaced the cross and held a small candlelight vigil at the site to honor it.
“This is where Mikey took his last breath, this is where you can sit and talk to the boys,” Rosenberger said. “My wife and I come here often because she enjoys talking to him here. It gives her and others who come here a little bit of peace.”
Rosenberger said Murphy was cremated, so family considers this site the only place friends and family can visit and pay their respects to their son as well as his friend Bougie, who also has a painted rock and several commemorative memorabilia at the site in his honor. Rosenberger said the memorial is especially important to Murphy’s two young sons, who are sorely missed by their father when they look at Murphy’s photo and the ashes when they are visiting, Rosenberger recalls.
“Let our son rest in peace,” Rosenberger said. “I want the boys to both rest in peace, without people stealing from this site and pieces of crosses or other parts of the memorial disappearing. We have rebuilt it for our family and for the children of Mike. I want to have a place for my grandchildren and all of Mike’s family and friends to feel close to him. “
Rosenberger urged all who signed the original cross to stop by the memorial site and also sign this new cross, with the request that the logos not be signed.
Like the previous marker with a Steelers logo, this new section of the cross is similar, with the addition of a four-leaf clover as a nod to its Irish heritage. Replacing the missing section of the cross with a new plank, handcrafted by Murphy’s brothers-in-law, Troy and Scottie and his cousin Smokie, helped the grieving family come out of the tragic accident, said Rosenberger.
“The cross section was never found, and maybe never will be, but we rebuilt it and put the cross back together because we needed it,” Rosenberger said. “We are moving forward in the best possible way. “
The family is looking for a stolen commemorative cross:“We are still in mourning”: the family pleads for the cross to be returned to the site of the fatal accident
Learn more about Michel’s life:“He’s always been a man of his word”: 2 Rochester men killed in Dover Sixth Street crash
Learn more about the accident:Double fatal crash in Dover: Police say no prosecution as relatives raise questions