Stephanie Garcia-Tovar was in Butler County Common Pleas court Wednesday when Townsend was arraigned and bond was set at $500,000.
“When I saw him come through that little door, I pulled down my mask. I wanted him to see me. I wanted him to know I will be in court every time,” she said.
Garcia-Tovar said she had been thinking about a way to memorialize her daughter in a way that would also benefit the community. Two of her daughter’s friends came up with the idea of a bench in Smalley Park.
“I live across from Smalley, and Sydney and her friends used to go there. They told me that is where they can really feel Sydney with them,” she said.
When Garcia-Tovar looked around the park, there weren’t many places to sit, especially near the playground where parents might want to keep an eye on their children.
After contacting the Hamilton Parks Conservancy, Garcia-Tovar picked out a bench with three seats and established an online fundraising account to raise the $900 needed. She got that amount quickly and then some.
“Thank you so much for all the donations! I never expected to exceed my goal. Any extra monies that have been donated for Sydney will in turn be donated to Hope Dudley and her non profit organization U CAN SPEAK FOR ME,” Garcia-Tovar wrote last week on the page through which a total of $1,450 had been raised.
“I feel without her help with making posters/playing cards to distribute in the jails, Sydney’s face wouldn’t have made it out there like it was. I have left the go fund me open for that reason! Other families of murdered children can get the help they need from her as I did.”