LOCAL NEWS

Family of boy killed while riding bike gifted holiday surprise in his memory

Dec 18, 2022, 10:30 PM | Updated: 10:42 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah — The Mitchell family has a lot of reminders this holiday season of the one person they wish were here to celebrate with them.

Outside their West Jordan home, neighbors have set up a display called the ’12 Days of Eli,’ and each day they bring over a new sign to stake in the yard with a memory of Eli Mitchell.

Neighbors know the Mitchell home hasn’t been the same after the 13-year-old was hit and killed by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle back in April.

They know the holidays can be especially tough, without Eli to open presents under the Christmas tree.

Just up the street from the home Sunday, a truck and trailer followed by a few vehicles pulled up an park. A group gathered and opened the back door to the trailer, grabbing a large tarp.

People lined up on each side of the tarp to carry a huge object resting inside.

One of those people was Becky Yamasaki.

“We’re just hoping that it can bring a sense of peace and joy to Christmas,” she said, of what they were bringing up to the Mitchell family front doorsteps.

They rang the doorbell, and Lisa and Jeremy Mitchell answered.

“Holy moly!” Jeremy squealed.

“Hello!” Becky said. The entire group gave out a spirited, “Merry Christmas!”

The Mitchells weren’t expecting guests, and they definitely weren’t expecting what the guests brought with them.

Becky helped haul it downstairs to the basement. “You got it?” she asked as a couple others, including co-owner of Siegfried and Jensen Luke Peterson, carried the plastic-wrapped object.

They stood it upright, and took down the plastic to reveal a huge Christmas tree, decked out in a Harry Potter theme— which Eli loved.

It was the Festival of Trees tree made in his honor. Siegfried and Jensen purchased the tree, with the money going to Primary Children’s Hospital, and initially put it on display at their office.

But all along, the law firm planned to donate the tree back to the Mitchell family.

“It just feels like the right thing for us to do,” Luke said. “And to hopefully make their Christmas, and to make them happy. I think that’s what this time of year is all about.”

With help from Eli’s grandfather and grandmother Glendon and Toni Mitchell (who made sure the family was home for the delivery), the law firm and Festival of Trees made the surprise visit Sunday.

They set the tree up in the basement living room area, which Lisa explained was her son’s favorite hangout spot in the house.

Becky, who helped coordinate the delivery, serves on the Executive Board at Festival of Trees and is the large tree coordinator.

“We’re just thrilled,” Becky said, tearfully. “Thrilled to be able to bring this tree to Mitchell home, exactly where it needs to be.”

Emma Mitchell, Eli’s 16-year-old sister, said it makes her happy to see something so big in that spot for her brother.

“Having the tree there is kind of like a happy way to still remember him, but not to feel too sad every time I come down here,” she said.
Lisa said she plans to keep the tree up all year round to help remember Eli.
She and Jeremy expressed how grateful they are to have the tree in their home.
“There’s a lot of bad in the world but there’s so much good,” Lisa said. “And this has been an experience where we have just felt that from so many people and so many different angles, just all the good that’s still around us.”
Lisa stood next to Becky, looking at the tree.

“I’m so glad it’s here,” Becky said. “Me too,” Lisa replied. The two women hugged.

“It’s been good for us to be able to help you guys. This is awesome for us,” Becky said. “Thank you,” Lisa answered. “It’s beautiful. It’s exactly, exactly perfect.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Students at Juan Diego Catholic School (KSL-TV)...
Michael Locklear

Private schools celebrate state funding, expect ‘significant uptick in enrollment’

Utah’s private schools are celebrating that they’ll receive state funding for the first time through a new school choice program.
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck

Passenger dead after attempting to move crashed truck on SR-89

A passenger was fatally hit by a trailer after a car crashed into it Friday night, according to Utah Highway Patrol
1 day ago
One the of climbers in the training camp climbing a wall. (KSL-TV's Alex Cabrero)...
Alex Cabrero

USA Climbing Camp for Paris 2024 begins in Salt Lake City

As the Summer 2024 Olympic Games draws closer, those athletes looking to participate begin their training. 
1 day ago
The large herd of about 60 elk near the mouth of Parley's Canyon on Thursday. (Utah Department of W...
Michael Houck

DWR officials warn of migrating elk entering Salt Lake City

A migrating herd of approximately 60 elk is causing problems for residents and drivers near the mouth of Parley's Canyon.
1 day ago
Former longtime Murray Mayor Dan Snarr is photographed on Dec. 13, 2013. Snarr, 73, was charged Thu...
Pat Reavy

Former Murray mayor accused of spitting in driver’s face in road rage case

The former longtime mayor of Murray has been charged with spitting in the face of another driver during a road rage incident.
1 day ago
Handcuffs in a jail cell FILE PHOTO (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...
Pat Reavy

Sandy man threatened to kill parents after shooting TVs, police say

A Sandy man was charged Friday with shooting two televisions and threatening to kill his parents and go on a killing spree.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Family of boy killed while riding bike gifted holiday surprise in his memory