Two years before he died under mysterious circumstances in 2007, the famed rapper Ryan “Woodie” Wood released a song where he requested to be laid to rest in Antioch, his hometown.
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A memorial headstone for Ryan Mitchell Wood, aka Woodie, that was stolen from the Holy Cross Cemetery in Antioch, CA. (Courtesy of Storm Wolf)
“When I die just let my body lie in peace/Beneath the earth and sky of Antioch on East 18th,” Wood raps on the song. Last August, his friends honored that request, installing a memorial marker at Holy Cross Ceremony in Antioch. While it didn’t contain his remains, the site became a place for his friends and loved ones to feel connected to Wood.
Flowers rest on an empty space where the headstone of Ryan Mitchell Wood, aka Woodie, was stolen on or near April 20, 2018.
“That’s where he wanted to be,” said Antioch rapper Big Tone, a close friend of Wood’s, who declined to give his real name. “It was a place for us to go and pay our tribute to him out here.”
That is, until April 20, when the memory stone turned up missing, apparently dug up and stolen during the night. His friends and fans have reacted with shock and sadness, and now they are raising money for what they hope is a more permanent replacement.
“I felt that was beyond disrespectful,” said Brandon “B-Dawg” Rivera, who appeared on songs with Wood throughout his career. “He’s been gone for quite a few years now and for them to have the audacity to do something like that, I don’t understand it.”
Employees at the cemetery declined to comment.
Since the theft, they have started fundraising to build a much bigger memorial that can’t be removed.
“It was unfortunate, but maybe we can all chip in and do something big for him,” Big Tone said. “From something negative, something positive can always come out of it.”