MIAMI (WSVN) - An act of gun violence pushed loved ones to lift the legacy of a woman from South Florida, weeks after she was killed in a Las Vegas home invasion.
The family of 24-year-old Natalie Manduley on Sunday visited a new mural created in her honor along Northwest First Court in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.
Friends and family members, who knew the victim as Lacey, said they hope to keep her memory alive.
“She was everything. Long live Lacey,” said Gabriel Manduley, her older brother.
“This is done with a lot of love,” said Mack Alama, her boyfriend.
Police said Manduley lost her life after three armed men entered her home in Las Vegas, March 25.
Investigators said the victim was killed in a shootout with the robbers.
“I feel terrible. That was my little sister. Her life was taken from us way too early,” said Gabriel.
Originally from South Florida, Lacey had been living with Alama in Nevada.
“A beautiful queen, her life was taken short at 24 years old,” he said.
Her best friend, Stephanie Hernandez, said she was there when she was shot.
“She had no life to her when I saw her, and I know she protected me,” said Hernandez.
Gabriel said losing his sibling has been difficult for her youngest relatives, as well.
“I see my kids — 11, 7 and 5 years old — they cry every night asking for their aunt, and it’s only so much you can tell these kids,” he said.
Police arrested 18-year-old Kamari Oliver at his high school. They said he left his math homework in the getaway car that he and his accomplices used.
“She had so many plans, so many goals, and these animals came and took her from us, senselessly, tragically, and for nothing,” said Gabriel. “All they took was a life, a beautiful life. They took a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a girlfriend, everything.”
Loved ones added notes to the memorial and wrote their memories on balloons. Shortly after, they released the balloons into the sky.
“Long live Lacey,” they said.
With the balloons, they said, they released some of the pain they’ve felt.
“We feel the hurt, and I would not want this to happen to anybody else,” said Gabriel.
Alama said there were other robbers at the home when she was killed. They have not been arrested.
Manduley’s family set up a website in her honor with the intention to raise funds for families that cannot afford funeral costs for loved ones or to relocate after a tragedy. If you would like to make a donation, click here.
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