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Dakota DeMott memorial installed

Friends and family welded pictures of victim on 9-foot structure that they placed on a hilltop above

Posted: March 14, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 14, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Taking part in Sunday's hilltop are, from left, Dylan Lewis, Toby Rini, Cody Pearlstein and Dakota DeMott's grandfather, George DeMott. (Courtesy)

From a rocky, windy mountain top near Agua Dulce, the smiling face of Dakota DeMott looks down on the Santa Clarita Valley.

A photo of the young Canyon Country man who lost his life in a car crash a year ago is now part of a 9-foot-tall memorial that was set in place Sunday by friends and family who remember him, quote him, cry about him and share stories about him daily.

“It’s amazing,” said DeMott’s uncle, Brett, who joined more than a dozen others in planting the memorial.

“Everywhere I go people still talk about him,” he told The Signal on Wednesday.

“They say ‘I did this with Dakota’ or ‘I did that with Dakota.’ He was a really, really good kid and awesome to have around.

“You always hear how you never quite get over the loss of a loved one but just learn to live with the anguish. Well, that statement is true,” he said.

“Many times a day it’s a place, or a phrase, an email, a poem, a photo, etc., that makes us think of Dakota, and many times a day you think, ‘Wow, that reminds me of Dakota.’”

DeMott died Jan. 10, 2012, when the Ford Mustang in which he was riding slammed into a tree on Sand Canyon Road at Alamo Canyon Road in Canyon Country.

Seven months after the crash, two Canyon Country men were charged with murder in connection with the fatal crash — one of them the driver of the Mustang. Their trial is still pending.

On Sunday, 15 friends and family headed up to the mountains above Agua Dulce to one of the places where Dakota liked to go and where he learned to ride dirt bikes, Brett DeMott said.

The spot chosen for DeMott’s hilltop memorial — a structure welded out of wrought iron, adorned with photos of DeMott on his dirt bike — was the spot Dakota often stopped “to take in a breathtaking view,” his uncle said.

The structure was designed and constructed by DeMott’s friend Kevin Pearlstein with the help of welder Jon Vang, who runs Advanced West Coast Welding.

“Dakota and my son were best friends,” Pearlstein said Wednesday. “They were one.”

The sculptors incorporated a sprocket and chain into the memorial and underscored it with steel mesh banners bearing Dakota DeMott’s name and his signature phrase, “Never doubt me.”

“It was one of Dakota’s trademark statements he would say when taking on a task or making a commitment,” said Brett DeMott. “Never doubt me.”

One thing is for sure, according to the scores of friends who attended a memorial service for DeMott at St. Clare Catholic Church in Canyon Country in January, or showed up in court during recent proceedings involving the murder trial, or gathered on the hilltop: Dakota DeMott will be remembered.


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