Triad moms devastated after roadside memorial honoring their daughters disappears

ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. -- Two Piedmont Triad moms are devastated after they say someone took a roadside memorial honoring their daughters.

Corena Johnson and Kelleigh Shropshire died in crash on I-85 in Orange County more than a year ago.

“My girls were phenomenal people, always big goofy smiles,” said Ronda Johnson, Corena’s mom.

Troopers say the car the 19-year-old girls were in veered off the road near mile marker 164 and hit several trees.

“Torture, agony, a pain you can't explain,” Johnson said while describing this last year. She’s returned to the scene almost every day.

Johnson created a memorial by the tree where the car landed in an embankment. She decided to create a more visible one by the road to commemorate the girls one year after their death earlier this month.

“Maybe they slow down to read the sign and avoid an accident,” Johnson said. “They could realize how rough that curve is or maybe they go home and hug her children.”

Eight days after placing a sign, flowers, balloons and solar lights at the scene, the memorial disappeared.

“I was on my knees on the side of the road the moment I could get there.” Johnson said. “I spent hours on my knees calling everyone I could trying to get somebody, trying to get an answer.”

Johnson says she called Highway Patrol, the sheriff’s office and several divisions of the Department of Transportation to figure out what happened. No one knows where it went.

“It's robbed the last little bit of faith I've had in humanity,” Johnson said.

Shannon Shropshire, Kelleigh’s mom, said she didn’t even have time to see the memorial before it was taken.

“Putting things up like that is our way of grieving and getting through this for somebody to take that,” Shropshire said, as she held back tears. “I hope they bring it back.”

Both moms say the memorial can be returned anonymously. Someone can bring it back to the scene or even leave it in a public place.

If you have any information about where if could be, contact Johnson at

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