OCOEE, Fla. – An Ocoee family said the memorial site of their son, who was shot and killed last year, has been repeatedly vandalized — and the family is looking for answers.
“Other than his ashes, it’s all we have. It’s where we go when we want to talk to him,” Tara Nieto said, discussing the memorial site for her 15-year-old son, Jesus Ramirez.
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News 6 first spoke with Nieto last year after authorities said the teen was shot and killed outside his Ocoee home.
More than a year later, she said the pain of losing her son is being felt in a different way.
“It’s kind of like a smack in the face again, you know? It’s a re-living the pain of all of that, of what happened because they won’t leave us alone. They won’t let it go,” Nieto said.
Nieto said someone is vandalizing the memorial she made outside their home.
According to Nieto, tensions first started to rise after investigators arrested another teen, Ricardo Perez, on suspicion of Ramirez’s murder.
“They drive by here with insulting names... threats,” Nieto said.
The threats, she said, then escalated to vandalism. Nieto’s security cameras caught one such incident back in July.
Surveillance video shows a vehicle speeding down the street, striking the memorial and the fencing around it before driving off.
According to the Ocoee Police Dept. report, the vehicle appeared to slow down and intentionally leave the road to hit the memorial.
Nieto said she has given that video and others to the Ocoee Police Department.
News 6 reached out to officers but has not heard back at this time.
Nieto said that at this point, she just wants her family to be left alone.
“We just want to, you know, grieve in our way... It’s like you can’t live comfortably in our own home,” she said.
The family said they will continue to cooperate with police as the investigation continues. In the meantime, they asked for prayers as they continue to grieve.
The investigation for Ramirez’s murder is still being conducted by Orange County Sheriff’s Office. At this time, Perez, the one accused of shooting and killing Ramirez, has not gone to trial.
News 6 will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
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