‘Her smile was contagious:’ Family remembers Sharpsville murder victim

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MASURY, Ohio (WKBN) – In the months since her untimely death, the family and friends of Amanda Downs — who went by “Mandy” — are trying to move on while keeping her memory alive.

Lisa Pickard (left) and Phil Pickard (right),  Amanda Downs' parents.

Tragically, Mandy’s life was cut short by the hands of domestic violence. Police said her boyfriend and the father of her child, Antonio Velazquez-Rupert, killed her before taking off with their eight-month-old daughter.

Remembering her on Friday night, they gave a greater sense of the loving person Mandy — a mother of two — was to everyone who walked into her life.

“We have pictures everywhere,” said Phil Pickard, Mandy’s father.

No doubt, photos are the first thing you notice when walking into the Pickard home — Mandy at the center of them all.

“Her smile was contagious,” friend Adrian Carroll said. “She just would have done anything for anyone. It’s just not fair.”

Lisa Pickard, Mandy’s mother, said her two daughters were her world.

“My daughter’s biggest dream was for her two daughters — her two little girls,” she said. “We’re devoted to making sure that we can give them everything that she wanted for them. And we’re going to.”

Spending time with the people she loved was Mandy’s greatest joy. She was the light of her parent’s lives.

Prior to the New Year’s Eve incident, she had just gotten a promotion at her job and was excited about the future.

“It was the first time in her life she was so happy about the way her life was going,” Phil said. “She worked so hard to get to where she was at — and then it was just ripped from her.”

But in the months since her death, her friends are asking the community to come together to help Mandy’s family and daughters.

In fact, Carroll organized a spaghetti dinner, which will be held at the Sons of Italy in downtown Sharon on March 4 from 3-8 p.m.

“When everything happened, we just…our hearts broke,” Carroll said. “And Phil and Lisa are such great people — they’re under so much that they shouldn’t have to worry about anything else.

“We just wanted to do a spaghetti dinner. We’re basically just trying to pull the funds to cover the expenses and stuff for her family. And get the word out there about domestic violence. And make sure Mandy’s story is known and she’s never forgotten.”

All of the profits from the dinner will go directly to Mandy’s parents.

“This is an honor to her,” Phil said. “The people that come are an honor to her and I’m happy about that. I’m happy about everyone that knew her — it was a pleasure. And knowing my daughter the way I do, if she could experience the love that all these people have for her, it’s honor enough.”

The dinner will have Chinese auctions and bracelets and T-shirts for sale.

For tickets, more information or if you want to donate or help out, contact Adrian-Lenisa Scutillo at 724-813-8906.

A spaghetti dinner is being held for Amanda Downs, murdered by her boyfriend on Dec. 31, 2016.


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