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OREM -- An Orem girl's death is grief on top of grief for her family. Thirteen-year-old Madison Mecum was killed by a 13-year-old driver while waiting for her bus Thursday morning.
Friday, Madison's grandfather spoke with KSL News about the long list of difficulties their family has gone through.
Years of hardship
Delos Ballard said his granddaughter was a bright and witty girl, the light of her family's lives.
"She was our angel," Ballard said. "Always smiling, always cheerful."
Ballard, who lives in Washington state, was in Utah this week spending time with family. He now cherishes the alone time he had with his granddaughter Thursday morning before she left for school. Ballard said he fixed her breakfast while she talked about her plans for Halloween. Ballard said it it has been a terrible five years for his daughter, and Madison's mother, Paige Mecum.
In 2005, Madison's father was killed when he lost control of his car and hit a barrier. Paige got some insurance money from his death and put her trust in a financial planner to invest that money.
According to Ballard, that financial planner then invested the money with a Lindon man who has since been accused of running a Ponzi scheme.
Jeffrey Mowan allegedly defrauded as many as 200 investors out of $18 million. The FBI arrested Mowen in Panama last year. His trial is set for April.
Ballard, who also lost money in that scam, said his daughter lost everything and can't even afford to bury Madison. He said local church members have been supportive through it all, but his daughter has been beaten up for a long time.
"I don't know how she can stand it," Ballard said. "To me, it would be the straw that broke the camel's back." The family says their faith gives them strength to get through these difficult times.
Services for Madison Mecum will take place at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at an LDS meetinghouse at 965 W. 2000 North in Orem.
If you would like to help the family financially, a donation account* has been set up at Zions Bank under Madison's name.
Orem Junior High students honor classmate
Meanwhile, students at Orem Junior High School honored Madison Friday.
Students signed posters and cards for her family, and most of them wore pink -- Madison's favorite color.
They also decorated her locker, held a moment of silence and then listened to her favorite song, "You Raise me Up" by Josh Groben.
Alpine School District spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley said there was a very somber day, especially because Madison and the other girl involved in the accident are classmates.
*ksl.com has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does ksl.com assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.