Sarpy County on Tuesday unveiled the Eberle-Walden Crime Victims Memorial in honor of Danny Joe Eberle and Christopher Walden, two young boys who were murdered in Sarpy County 40 years ago.
The memorial, which also honors all crime victims, is located at the Sarpy County Courthouse at the east entrance of the administration building near the base of the stairs.
“This memorial serves as a permanent reminder of this devastating case and as a reminder that crime has a ripple effect throughout our community,” said Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis. “We never want these boys, or any victims of crime, to be forgotten.”
The monument is coupled with an ongoing fundraising effort that will provide grants to crime victims and their families. The Sheriff’s Foundation administers the fund.
The bronze memorial features two boys carrying backpacks and travelling up an infinity road engraved with the words community, justice, remembrance, peace and hope.
“Our office works with victims of crime on a daily basis, and it’s fitting to memorialize these children, and all victims of crime, in this impactful way,” said Bonnie Moore, Sarpy County Chief Deputy County Attorney.
Davis proposed the memorial as a Sarpy County Chamber Leadership Sarpy legacy project. The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation in 2020 authorizing the placement of the memorial in the Courthouse.
Roughly 100 people filled the board room at the Sarpy County Courthouse for the unveiling ceremony. Davis, Moore, a Sarpy legacy project leader, the artist who designed the memorial and Angi Burmeister, chair of the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners, spoke at the event.
“We cannot forget that crime victims deserve justice and need our enduring support. The Eberle-Walden Memorial is our reminder,” Burmeister said.
The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Foundation paid for the memorial, created by artist Joe Putjenter.
“I wanted this to show that these two kids are better now. What they went through is over. They’re in a better place,” Putjenter said.
About the crimes
Danny Joe Eberle, 13, was delivering newspapers for the Omaha World-Herald when he went missing on Sept. 18, 1983. His body was found Sept. 21 in rural Bellevue, four miles from where he was last seen.
Christopher Walden, 12, went missing while walking to school on Dec. 2, 1983 – the first day his mother allowed him to do so since Eberle’s murder. His body was recovered on Dec. 5 near Giles and Portal Roads.
Law enforcement arrested the boys’ killer on Jan. 11, 1984, hours after receiving a 911 call about the suspect from a local schoolteacher. The killer confessed to the kidnappings and murders the same day. He was executed by the State of Nebraska in 1996. Before his execution, he confessed to a third earlier murder of Ricky Stetson, a young boy from Portland, Maine.
Photos from the unveiling event
Above: The Eberle-Walden Crime Victims Memorial is unveiled at the Sarpy County Courthouse.
Above: A crowd gathers for the unveiling of the Eberle-Walden Crime Victims Memorial, which honors Danny Joe Eberle and Christopher Walden, two young boys who were murdered in Sarpy County 40 years ago, and all victims of crime.
Above, from left to right: Chief Deputy County Attorney Bonnie Moore, Artist Joe Putjenter, Sarpy legacy project leader Lisa Summers, Sarpy County Board Chair Angi Burmeister and Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis stand in front of the Eberle-Walden Crime Victims Memorial at the Sarpy County Courthouse after speaking at the unveiling ceremony on Tuesday.
Above, from left to right: Sarpy County Commissioners Gary Mixan, Jim Warren, Angi Burmeister, Don Kelly and David Klug stand with the Eberle-Walden Crime Victims Memorial. The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation in 2020 authorizing the placement of the memorial in the Courthouse.
Above: The bronze memorial features two boys carrying backpacks and travelling up an infinity road engraved with the words community, justice, remembrance, peace and hope.