A 7-year-old girl in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, reportedly acted as the caretaker for her younger siblings for four days without realizing her parents had died from an overdose.
Police in Allegheny County said that the girl’s 25-year-old mother and 26-year-old father OD’d on heroin on 30 September 2016, a Friday. Over the weekend, the 7-year-old took care of her two brothers, ages 3 and 5, and 1-year-old sister. Investigators only learned about the couple’s death after the girl told her school bus driver the following Monday that she could not wake her parents up and that they looked “blue.” Their bodies were found that evening.
The girl and her siblings were placed with the county Office of Children, Youth and Families. The mother’s sister, 22-year-old Courtney Lally, said that she is seeking custody of the children.
In February 2016, Lally contacted both a local television station, WPXI and police seeking to draw attention to her sister’s living situation, going so far as to send them pictures of the couple’s garbage-ridden home in Mulally, Pennsylvania:
Her actions, Lally said, prompted her sister and her husband to move to McKeesport, two hours away.
Lally has also publicly discussed what she described as her sister’s battle for years on end with her heroin addiction:
My sister wasn’t the person she became when it came to drugs. She wasn’t the person I knew. It was like the drugs had taken over and at first we didn’t know it was heroin. She loved her kids — she did. She loved her mom, she loved me, she loved us.
Lally has created an online fundraising page seeking $5,000 to help pay for her sister’s funeral. As of 6 October 2016, it had amassed $1,730 in contributions.