Fort Worth family puts up billboards of son, other fentanyl victims to save lives

This story is part of The Dallas Morning News’ monthlong series on how fentanyl has affected our community.

Thousands of cars barrel down this bustling strip of U.S. Highway 67 in Duncanville every day. Bombarded with ads for air conditioning, used cars and Fluffy’s Chicken, they may not notice Sebastian Moreno’s face, towering over the hot asphalt as big as a king-size mattress.

Drivers probably don’t see Ofie and Frank Moreno, who visit him here often, pulling McDonald’s fries out of a paper sack as 18-wheelers roar past. They sit in a small patch of sand, gravel and browning grass next to an auto repair shop and a U-Haul store. There’s no barrier protecting them from the frontage road; the ramp to the highway is just yards away.


The setting Monday sun beats down on the exposed lot below his billboard. Sebastian’s name is hardly readable to passersby. But a bold message calls out: FENTANYL STEALS OUR FAMILIA.

Breaking News

Get the latest breaking news from North Texas and beyond.

“This is all we have left of him,” Ofie says. The howling cars muffle the words.


Frank’s eyes redden as he gazes up at Sebastian’s pouty expression and fading split-dyed hair. Frank, 53, hums along to a Kid Rock song blasting from his son’s blue sedan. Ofie strokes his forearm.

Sebastian Moreno was the shortest cornerback on his Arlington high school football team — 5-foot-3 — but he could tackle and outrun kids twice his size. He would jump into bed with Ofie, every day after work or school, filling their home with cheers: Mama! Mama!

Sebastian was bold, courageous and noble, and his altruism befuddled his parents. Like when he wrangled stray German shepherds into the backyard and fed them the family’s deli meat; or when he found three displaced Ukrainian exchange students wandering around Six Flags and brought them home for two months. During the pandemic, the 20-something cashed out his 401K and spent it on groceries for homeless people.


He smiled through hardship. “Even if it hurts,” he’d say.

On an unusually icy February morning in 2022, Sebastian was scraping snow off the car when he slipped, hurting his back. Despite the seething pain, he came home from a 12-hour shift at a plastics plant in a good mood.

He greeted Frank, “Hey Pops.” He jumped on Ofie’s bed and then retired to the family’s Fort Worth garage to play Madden on PlayStation.

Frank went to check on him. Sebastian looked asleep, so he wrapped his son in a blanket. Half an hour later, Ofie went into the garage. Sebastian’s head was slumped; his hands were cold and his lips blue.

Ofie cried, “Help me!”

Sebastian had bought a pill to numb his back pain. He didn’t know it was fentanyl. He was 24.

Ofie and Frank Moreno’s fireplace in their Fort Worth home is a makeshift grotto filled with memories of their 24-year-old son, Sebastian, who died after fentanyl poisoning in August. They’ve placed his birth certificate and death certificate in the same silver tube.(Tom Fox / Staff Photographer)

Grief is maddening; Ofie felt like she’d gone crazy. She needed to channel her agony, her anger. She decided to put Sebastian’s face everywhere.


“We turn this pain into fight,” said Ofie, 50.

He’s scattered around the metroplex. He’s in Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and Springfield, Mo. He was once in Times Square, Ofie said. The billboards — arranged through a nonprofit — vary; some are digital, some have many victims’ faces, some are on display for longer than others. The Morenos want to put up more soon, through their own budding group, Bash ‘En Fentanyl.

Ofie works at Walmart, paycheck-to-paycheck, yet scraps together donations and saves for the panels. They hope the faces looming over the roadway will force people to listen. Ofie is proud of her son. Perhaps he’s saving other children.

The Morenos finish their cheeseburger and Filet-O-Fish. They share stories from Sebastian’s youth and reminisce over photos. Ofie rests her head on Frank’s shoulder and whispers, “It sucks.”


The passing drivers likely don’t see the couple pack up their folding chairs and head toward the car.

“Twenty-four years of memories,” Frank says.

“Forever 24,” Ofie replies.

Tonight, the Morenos grin up at their son one more time — even though it hurts.