SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — News 8 has an update on a story we first brought you last week about a homeless former Marine killed in a hit-and-run accident. Deryck Bacon's widow reached out for help because she wanted her husband buried with honor.
And several San Diego groups answered the call.
When News 8 shared the story of Bacon - a 59-year-old homeless veteran who'd been killed - the circumstances surrounding his death struck a chord within the community.
"This one was a particularly tragic story," said Michael McConnell, a homeless advocate in the San Diego area. "As it turns out, he's a veteran and [he was] just innocently sleeping on the sidewalk because he has no place to call home."
McConnell said he knew he wanted to help after learning Bacon's wife wasn't able to give him a proper burial.
"The least - the very least - we can do is make sure these folks have a proper send-off after what they've done for us," said McConnell.
And he wasn't the only one who felt that way.
"We both immediately said 'What can we do to help this person?'" said Rex Kern the director of the Miramar National Cemetery. "We saw the family begging for a burial - a decent burial - but didn't know how to contact anybody."
That's when Kern teamed up with News 8 to verify Bacon's service to see if he qualified for a military funeral with honors.
"He was in the United States Marine Corps. and he was discharged on a medical discharge," said Kern.
Bacon's common law wife previously talked with News 8 about him being honorably discharged due to a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
"He didn't want to take his medication and that was the beginning of the end," Karen Castro said.
The driver, Marie Salomon, who allegedly hit Bacon also hit two parked cars before fleeing the scene.
Salomon was interviewed by police and News 8 learned Tuesday that she and her passenger that night have now been charged.
While no one can change the way this veteran's life ended, plans are now in the works to give Bacon the funeral he deserves. Greenwood Memorial Park is helping with funeral arrangements and some of the costs, while McConnell has offered to pay for any extra burial costs for a service at Miramar.
"When it comes to this time we don't want them to end up some place in a pauper's gravesite somewhere," said Kern. "We want to bury them with honor, dignity and respect here at Miramar National Cemetery."
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