ALHAMBRA (CBSLA) — Damien Benson and Deanna Ductoc were together for 18 months. She said they were close to getting engaged.

But on March 19, the 26-year-old died of a heart attack. The coroner said it was due to complications from coronary artery disease.

“Marriage was in the talks. Kids were in the talks. Actually just the week before, we were house hunting with my parents,” Ductoc recalled. “I tried saving the love of my life, and I listened to his chest again. But this time, his heart wasn’t beating at all.”

Now instead of planning their wedding, she is planning his funeral.

For his memorial, she ordered 160 eco-friendly lanterns to release at his favorite beach.

“The wish lanterns are a sign of good luck. All of your problems floating away. You can wish somebody well wishes,” Ductoc explained.

The package was delivered on Monday. When it was not on her front porch, Ductoc checked her security cameras. “When I saw that, my heart just dropped,” she said.

The video showed a man running up to her porch and grabbing the box containing $200 worth of lanterns inside.

At the same time, another angle showed a white SUV pulling up along side of the house.

“I’m already going through the worst thing that I can imagine in my life, and I’m not trying to stress about anything else,” Ductoc added.

She filed a police report but acknowledged that this type of crime is all too common.

“A lot of thieves don’t think about that other people are already going through, and the entitlement that they feel to grab something that’s not theirs,” Ductoc said.

Now just days away from her beloved boyfriend’s memorial, she said it will go on even though someone else now has her lanterns.

“I want to have the best memorial for him – whether that means I’m down to my last dollars. I don’t care,” said Ductoc who later learned that the company that sold her the lanterns will send her another a box at no cost.


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