THURSDAY UPDATE: The Florida Department of Transportations says it picked up the memorial because it was on state right-of-way.

"We have contacted the family and we are going to get the marker back to them," the FDOT said. "We also advised her that we can have a metal memorial sign made in his name through the FDOT memorial marker program."


HUDSON, Fla. — A Hernando County boy has a plea this new year for someone to return his father’s missing memorial cross.

  • Roadside cross for man killed in 2018 crash is missing
  • Paul Mello was killed in motorcycle crash on US 19 and Tower Drive in Hudson
  • Six-foot memorial cross now missing, family hoping to get it back

A sad start to 2020 for 9-year-old Dominic Mello and his family, which resides in Hernando County.

"Somebody stole my dad's cross," said Mello.

Dominic’s dad, Paul Mello was killed by a drunk driver on his motorcycle in October of 2018 off US 19 and Tower Drive in Hudson.

Friends and family put up a cross more than six feet tall near the crash site in his honor.

That cross is now gone.

"It meant a lot to me because it had a lot love in it and had a lot of things that meant to me," said Dominic.

"Definitely come here to say hi and just like remember him keep, him in my heart."

Keeping his dad in his heart, was a cross filled with handwritten notes, a memorial decorated each holiday, a tribute to the man he misses.

"It was blue, it had his had it motorcycle parts on it," said Dominic.

"We had the chain on the top of the cross, we had his headlight and his seat and a couple of the side fenders that we had screwed onto the cross," said Jaclyn De Bello, Paul’s ex-wife and Dominic’s mother.

"It's just shocking," said De Bello who has been trying to track down the cross.

"If the County didn't do it and FDOT didn't do it, who else would've taken it?"

"I feel upset I don't know why somebody would steal it?" asked Dominic.

Now, a flower sits where the cross once stood.

"It's a flower so my dad knows that we love him," said Dominic.

The family hopes to get the cross back and Mello’s belongings that were to go to his boys.