Memorial for Rancho Mirage homicide victim apparently stolen

Rebecca Modrall last seen Feb. 5 in La Quinta

Missing Rancho Mirage woman case now cla

LA QUINTA, Calif. - "Temporarily we just put up the hashtag 'Justice for Rebecca' in the same color as we did the shirts," gestures Rachel Tarter, at the bright green posters now papering a power pole near the intersection of Madison Street and Bonita Vista Trail in La Quinta.

She calls the signs temporary, because on Saturday morning, the memorial for 33 year old Rebecca Modrall looked a lot different.

"There was a 'Justice for Rebecca' poster on either side, and then all the flowers and candles that people had brought to the vigil were all here," says Tarter.

But Tarter, Rebecca's aunt, says within six hours, even the large custom-made cross, had vanished from the carefully chosen location.

Tarter said the location was important "because this is the last place that (Rebecca) was known to be."

Rebecca told a number of family members she was coming to the home of her longtime boyfriend Joe Coker at the La Quinta Polo Estates on February 5, 2019.  But after she left, if she did, she was never heard from again.

Rebecca's family says she had been involved with the married businessman for over a decade, sharing additional photos of the couple vacationing together.

Investigators from San Bernardino County said Coker took his life less than a month after Rebecca disappeared.  The Riverside County Sheriff's Department released a statement Monday saying the case was classified as a homicide, but that no one had been named a person of interest.

A homeowner's association member from La Quinta Polo Estates said they had not, and would not remove a memorial. 

So did the construction contractors working in front of the gated community.

City of La Quinta spokesperson Chris Escobedo said "code enforcement does not remove memorials as a manner of practice."

Her voice breaking, Tarter says, "We don't live here, none of us live here, and so this was a place where we could honor her and the people, her friends that were here could come and honor her...for us right now, it's her grave. Because we don't have that right now.  This is the only place we have right now to go."

Around 12:00 a friend of Rebecca's came to the location, adding a larger poster with her face on it.  He reported that by close to 3 p.m., the photos and posters had been removed again.

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