Highway dedicated to deputy's ultimate sacrifice
A large crowd turned out Tuesday afternoon for a ceremony naming a section of Highway 112 in honor of slain Barry County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Lee Castetter.
In addition to a large number of law enforcement officers, Castetter's widow, Christine Speno, and Castetter's four brothers and his mother and father were also in attendance.
Speno addressed the crowd and spoke about her late husband and his passion for law enforcement.
"As he's guarding the gates of heaven, he's looking down and smiling proudly at this memorial that honors his service and dedication," said Speno. "Chris was a simple man, and he was ever so proud to wear his badge and all it stood for.
"Every time you drive down the Deputy Christopher Lee Castetter Memorial Highway, I hope you won't think of the tragedy of his death but you'll remember the very special man who gave his life to his community," Speno added.
Rep. David Sater sponsored House Bill 56, which designates a portion of Highway 112 from the intersection of Highway 76 south to the intersection of Highway AA in Barry County as the "Deputy Christopher Lee Castetter Memorial Highway." Sater attended Tuesday's ceremony and spoke briefly.
"We owe Christopher a great deal of gratitude for his service to us," said Sater. "I hope this highway will be a reminder to all that we should be forever thankful to all our officers. Christopher paid the ultimate sacrifice for each one of you."
Deputy Castetter was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 27, 1996. This Friday will mark the 12th anniversary of his murder. Castetter was shot and killed while responding to a suspicious vehicle call. Cecil Clayton, of Purdy, was later convicted of Castetter's murder and is currently awaiting execution on Missouri's death row.
The Missouri Department of Transportation helped coordinate this week's ceremony. Barry County businesses contributed money to pay for the two memorial signs that were unveiled and now permanently mark the highway in Castetter's honor.