Items stolen from Harrisburg memorial returned following ABC27 report

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Steven Esworthy was killed last June after he was walking home from a family function.

Harrisburg police arrested 19-year-old Shamir Hunter and charged him with murder.

Investigators say Esworthy was killed by a single blow to the back of his head and neck with a piece of lumber.

According to police, Hunter talked about the incident on social media.

That same evening, a memorial was put up along a fence at the Second City Church. The church gave the family permission to keep the memorial there for a year.

But in late March, someone took down the items on the fence.

A few days after ABC27’s report about the stolen items, someone called the church claiming they had the items and wanted to give them back.

Shane Bender has helped with the upkeep of the memorial since the beginning. He said as time went on, they began to lose hope.

“More than two weeks went by,” Bender said. “We still were waiting to get the belongings back, but it never happened, and we started to wonder if it was a hoax.”

The items were returned to the church this week in a bin.

The person who returned them didn’t want to be identified.

Rita Cruz is Steve Esworthy’s cousin. She was taken back by the gesture.

“We are glad the items are back,” said Cruz, “I admire the person who showed courage to take what had to be a difficult step.”

Cruz says the memorial will come down in June. After that, a permanent plaque will be put up.

Cruz says the person who returned the belongings also donated money to help with the costs of the plaque.

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