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Family, friends racing to find time capsule buried in honor of murdered girl

WXIX Cincinnati logo WXIX Cincinnati 6/18/2021 Jessica Schmidt
a woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Amber Garrett © Provided by WXIX Cincinnati Amber Garrett

HARRISON, Ohio (WXIX) - As construction crews prepare to tear down an old elementary school in Harrison, the community is searching the property for a time capsule that was buried in honor of a young girl who was murdered.

Amber Garrett, 10, was abducted and murdered in 1991. Although Amber’s convicted killer is in prison on death row, her family members and friends still struggle with the loss.

“We had plans for graduating high school and going off to college together, growing families together. We had lots of plans,” Pam Reamer Petti, Amber’s friend and classmate, said.

In honor of Amber, back in the 90s, her classmates planted a tree outside of Harrison Elementary.

“In fifth grade, the whole class got together, and we planted it as a memorial of her... just so everybody had a symbol of her, and it was the ongoing cycle of life,” Petti said.

Now that a new elementary school building has been constructed, the old elementary building is set to be torn down in a few weeks and will be turned into a parking lot. Amber’s father, Robert Garrett worked with the Southwest Local School District to ensure that the construction and demolition will not impact the tree.

“Glad that their class put that there for Amber, for their dedication, love for her,” Robert said. “It’s her tree, and we saved it.”

Knowing that the tree will not be removed, Amber’s loved ones are now shifting their focus to searching for a time capsule that was put together by Amber’s classmates under the guidance of their teacher. It was buried on the elementary school property in the 90s.

“We all put something in there to signify what we had with Amber, so there’s a videotape in there, a couple of toys, and letters that we all wrote to her,” Petti said.

Together, they have been using metal detectors and other methods to try to track down the time capsule, and construction crews have been made aware of it. However, it has not been found.

Petti is holding on to hope that they will find it.

“I think that is going to be a very emotional day,” she said. ”Seeing the video or reading the letters, that is just going to bring back everything all over again.”

The superintendent of Southwest Local Schools said he and other administrators did not know the tree outside of the old elementary school had been planted in Amber’s honor. They are happy they have since learned about the significance of the tree and have been able to ensure it will not be disturbed.

Anyone with information about the time capsule’s location can message the Amber Garrett Memorial Facebook page.

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