Memorial to slain Saginaw girl will be unveiled Saturday

A memorial to Alanna Gallagher will be unveiled Saturday at the elementary school where the slain 6-year-old Saginaw girl had attended kindergarten.

A dedication ceremony is planned for 2 p.m. at Willow Creek Elementary, 1100 W. McLeroy Blvd., in Saginaw.

Alanna was found dead the evening of July 1 on a Saginaw street corner. She had last been seen playing near her home on Babbling Brook Drive.

A 17-year-old neighbor was arrested and indicted on a capital murder charge, accused of sexually assaulting and suffocating Alanna. Tyler Holder, now 18, is also charged with attempted capital murder in the shooting of an Arlington police officer who was trying to arrest him.

The memorial was designed by David Carter, a former Saginaw officer who is now a Parker County sheriff’s deputy.

Members of the Specialists Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, a nonprofit founded by Carter, worked weekends and after school to build the memorial, which sits outside the window of Alanna’s kindergarten classroom. Donations covered most of the $45,000 cost of the seven-month project.

The memorial features a covered outdoor learning center with a polished-granite circular monument in the center. Inscribed on the monument is “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” — a Dr. Seuss quote chosen by Alanna’s family.

The club also added a feature that will cast a silhouette of a girl with a net chasing butterflies whenever the sun passes over the learning center’s top.

“I feel like I’m somewhat obligated to the Gallagher family to try to help give them something to show that not everybody is bad people. There are good people,” Carter previously told the Star-Telegram for an article about the memorial. “I want to do this so the family, after it’s said and done, can have someplace that they can go to outside of their house that they knew Alanna was safe. She was happy, she had friends, she was learning.

“All the things that I have wished for my children.”

Motorcyclists from various clubs are expected to join a procession to the school to attend the ribbon-cutting.

“It’s going to be perfect, picture perfect,” school Principal Lacei Koffi said in a news release announcing the dedication ceremony.