Part of living tribute to fallen Navy pilot sawed away

CORONADO, Calif. - A retired Navy commander is pushing ahead with an emotional mission to find the person who sliced away part of a memorial to her fallen son.

"There are so many memories that flood us when we go there," said Kay Krohne.

At least one day out of every week, Krohne can be found at a pocket park at the foot of Ynez Place in Coronado.

"It's a remembrance of my son and all that I miss about him," said Krohne.

Part of that remembrance is living tributes suddenly sawed away.

"We're devastated. It's so sad," said Krohne.

Krohne and her husband, both retired Navy commanders, helped create the city park 14 years ago in memory of their son, Navy pilot Kristopher Krohne, who was killed during a training flight.

The park includes a memorial bench, a marker with a poem called "High Flight" and landscaping including two Australian tea trees.

"It's all we have now to visit and have people remember him by, so it means a lot," said Krohne.

About a month ago, she went to the park and discovered the two Australian tea trees have been topped off. The top third of the trees was slashed away.

Krohne's first phone call was to city crews to see if they were responsible. They were not. She then wrote a letter to a Coronado newspaper, telling her story and asking for tips.

"We keep thinking someone must have seen something or know something," said Krohne.

She does not believe the vandalism was a personal attack, but the pain is very personal.

Before it was a park, it was a wooded area.

"It's a place we knew Kris spent some time, so his presence is there," said Krohne.

The full trees that were at the park will take years to grow back. In the next months, several plantings are planned to fill in a living tribute.

Anyone with information is asked to call Coronado police or the city parks department.

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