Pendleton, N.Y. (WKBW) - Amanda Wienckowski, 20, was found dead three years ago and her family has since turned her grave into a shrine to remember her short life. Early Monday morning, her family said someone tarnished her memory by vandalizing her site at Acacia Park Cemetery in Pendleton.
"A majority of her solar lights were taken and statues and something was broken. One her plaques," Someone Close to Amanda named Jim said.
This comes as the family plans a vigil for the three-year anniversary of Amanda's death. A family member who only wanted to be known as "Jim" said he and Amanda's mother discovered the desecrated grave around midnight. They didn't believe that weather was a factor.
"There was metal taken. You're not moving that stuff. It's very low profile almost in the ground. You can even see it until you walk up to it. There were big items in this they weren't blowing them away," Jim said.
Amanda was found dead in a trashcan behind a church in January of 2009. The Erie County Medical Examiner said she died of an accidental drug overdose but the family didn't buy it so they got a second opinion. Another doctor said the cause of death was strangulation and blunt force trauma, calling it a homicide. This is what the family wants to say to anyone with information.
"Why don't they step up and be real about this," Jim said.
The Erie County Medical Examiner office tells Channel 7 that they are sticking to their original conclusions that the girl died of an overdose. The family said they would continue to fight for answers.
"Till the end we will fight this, until our death," Jim said.
The vigil is to not only remember the life of the young woman but also to protest the Erie County Medical Examiners decision.