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Mandie's memory: Graffiti vandals tarnish sign, break family's heart

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Mandie's memory: Graffiti vandals tarnish sign, break family's heart

CREATED Mar 22, 2013

Reporter: Marcelino Benito
Web Producer: Rikki Mitchell

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Graffiti is literally everywhere on the westside. Roadsigns, streetpoles, even curbs. But then taggers crossed a line when they tagged a special sign.

"My heart dropped," said Oscar Ornellas. "To see someone disrespect it, your heart just drops. You just want to cry."

An adopt-a-road sign went up on Mission Road and Nebraska Street in memory of Mandie, a beautiful 22-year-old mother, killed in a tragic car accident last December, when a drunk driver smashed right into her car. She died instantly.

"We're still hurting," said Ornellas.

The hurt deepened again thanks to graffiti. Vandals left their mark on a stretch of road that means so much to this family.

"It makes you angry," says Cathie Miranda, Mandie's mother. "It's unbelievable. I can't believe people would do something like that."

Mandie's mother and her family worked tirelessly to make this sign a reality. And they say they're not going to let spray can punks trash one of the only things that helps keep her memory alive.

"I drive by here all the time it touches my heart," says Miranda. "She's honored, she's honored."

And that's why the family says they'll clean it, time and time again for as long as it takes.

"One day he [Mandie's son] will drive here and appreciate it," says Miranda. "I want it to be clean for him."

If you see someone tagging this sign or know who is responsible for tags in this area, contact local law enforcement. 

Remember you can report graffiti anytime online. If it's in the county click here. If it's in the city of Tucson, click here.