• Memorial dedicated to hairdresser in fatal beating

    By: Deborah Horne


    SEATTLE - In the Rainier Beach neighborhood that was his home for more than 30 years, he passed the Othello Park each day on long walks. Two lampposts and three gingko trees were dedicated to well-liked hairdresser Danny Vega.

    “The lampposts that will light the way for fellow walkers,” said Chris Wagner of the Rainier Beach Community Club, “and with the living gingko trees to celebrate his life.”

    Vega's life was cut brutally short in November of 2011.  He told Seattle police three teenagers beat and robbed him of his coat and cellphone as he walked home from his hair salon.  Then he fell into a coma from which he never emerged. 

    Police released a video of three men putting a coat into a dumpster and then began a billboard campaign.  Still no one was ever arrested.

    “It feels like hope and justice are slowly slipping away,” said his sister Valentina Vega.

    His unsolved murder not far -- even on this day -- from his family's mind. 

    “We can only pray for peace and closure, the rest might have to be left to destiny,”  Valentina Vega added.

    The trees and lampposts were bought with a grant from Waste Management's Think Green neighborhood program.  It also paid for a plaque which his sisters read in unison.

    “Gingko tree and light pole dedicated to Danny Vega," they said. 

    For them, it is all bittersweet.

    “So significant,” said Valentina Vega. “And very symbolic.”

    Vega's family also hopes this living memorial will help jog someone's memory,  so that his murder will finally be solved.

    When KIRO 7 last checked, there have been nearly 20 unsolved murders in Seattle since 2010.

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