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Local family struck by tragedy gains strength from community

Katie Crowther

Local family struck by tragedy gains strength from community

By Katie Crowther. CREATED Apr 24, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Last year, Richard and Cynthia Portaro buried their son, Michael. The 22-year-old was murdered in a robbery outside the Tenaya Creek Brewery, in the northwest Valley.

Just six months later, their 16-year-old daughter, Christina, was killed in an ATV accident in Southern Utah. On Tuesday night, the Portaros were reminded that they're not dealing with their loss alone.

The Faith Lutheran High School Varsity Lacrosse Team has dedicated their season to Christina. The saying, "Forever in our Hearts," is printed on the back of their helmets.  Along with the number 13, which was Christina's number on the school's volleyball and basketball teams. 

One of the senior boys on the lacrosse team was Chrissy's boyfriend. He wears purple cleats, because that was Christina's favorite color.

The team also chants Christina's nickname, "Chrissy P," before each game.  On Tuesday night, Christina's parents joined that chant from the team huddle. They were also presented with a bouquet of flowers.

"It's her 17th birthday this Thursday," Richard says. "The first birthday she hasn't been with us. It's sad, and it always will be. But what this team is doing tonight, is an example of something positive. It's nice to see."

"I remember the day she was born like yesterday," says Cynthia. "I thought she was an angel."

Christina's absence is something her parents are still trying to cope with.

"I could lay in bed all day and be sad," Cynthia describes. "But getting up and getting out of bed, and living in the world, and making a difference in the world is a choice."

It's a choice made even more difficult by the loss of Michael, just months before his sister's death.

"It's like one day your life is full of activity with children, and the next day, there's no children living in your home, none at all," Cynthia says. "We didn't go in the order of life. It was taken from us suddenly."

While Christina's death was a horrible accident, they are still waiting for justice in Michael's murder.

The Portaro family will have to wait until the end of the year to face his accused killer in court. The trial of 23-year-old Brandon Hill has been pushed back to November.