It's been one week since police arrested a Sioux Falls man for assaulting his pregnant ex-girlfriend. Authorities say Tony Ledbetter beat the woman, then used a scissors to cut off her nipples. Horrified by the incident, the community has been reaching out to the victim, wanting to know how they can help. One man is hoping a little art can make a big difference.
Nando at Vishnu Bunny Tattoo in downtown Sioux Falls has been an artist for 21 years.
Nando said as he pulled out his portfolio, "You get to do a variety of different designs."
While some of the tattoos aren't so monumental, he says the ones that are make up for it.
"I've done tattoos on people with mastectomy scars, I've done tattoos on burn victims, accident victims, sometimes just a plastic surgery that's gone wrong," Nando said.
While the tattoo artist has heard a lot of stories along the way, the one about the woman who had been disfigured by her ex-boyfriend, really stuck with those at the shop.
"It was pretty moving and I couldn't believe that someone could do something like that to another human being," Nando said.
They wanted to help, but any amount of money they could have contributed wouldn't make a dent in her medical bills. Instead, Nando is offering up his services for free if, at some point, she was in need of a cosmetic reconstruction tattoo.
"At least this is a viable option for her and if I can help in any way, I definitely will," said Nando.
Because of the detail, this type of tattoo would cost more than a $1,000 and would take several sessions to do.
Nando said, "The coloring, you have to make it look like it's natural to the body so there's a lot of steps involved."
But in the end, it may be worth it. It has made many of Nando's clients feel complete again. The outcome is why he became an artist in the first place.
"When they go look in the mirror, we don't look at the tattoo we look at their face and the face tells it all," said Nando.
Nando's offer has been passed along to the victim's friend. He hopes shell will get into contact with him if she needs any work done. A GoFundMe account has also been set up for the victim. The community has already donated more than $7,000 to help pay for her expenses.