The Whitpain Township mother whose boyfriend is accused of fatally beating and sexually assaulting her 14-year-old daughter has been unfairly portrayed in the media, her brother said yesterday.
Matthew DelConte, the uncle of Ebony Nicole Dorsey, described his sister, Danielle Cattie, as "a great mom who deeply loves her children."
"She's a good person who made some bad decisions," said DelConte. "She's paid a horrible price."
On Sunday afternoon, police found a small blue plastic storage bin containing Ebony's body. They said Mark Patrick O'Donnell, 48, of Plymouth Township, had killed her, then concealed her body underneath leaves and debris outside the Blue Bell residence of his nephew. O'Donnell is in Montgomery County Correctional Facility awaiting a preliminary hearing on charges that include first-degree murder, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, abuse of a corpse, and drug possession.
His hearing is scheduled for Tuesday - the day that would have been Ebony's 15th birthday.
He has admitted killing the Wissahickon High School honor student, who had been spending the night at his Plymouth Township apartment to watch his 4-year-old daughter while he smoked crack cocaine at Cattie's home. Cattie admitted using drugs that night.
A decision on whether Cattie will be charged with drug offenses is pending, Montgomery County First Assistant District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.
"Certainly our first priority is the murder investigation and making sure the other children in the Cattie household are safe," said Ferman.
Ferman said that confidentiality laws would not allow her to say who has custody of the children.
DelConte said that, after Cattie reported Ebony missing on Friday, she volunteered incriminating information to police about her own drug use, which did not include crack, he said.
"She didn't care about the consequences for her; she just cared about helping police find Ebony," he said.
DelConte said that neither he nor his sister knew that O'Donnell's late father, Daniel Frederick O'Donnell, had a murder conviction in his past.
According to court records, he fatally stabbed his 24-year-old wife, Carolyn O'Donnell, in 1972, after she told him she planned to move. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison as part of a plea bargain.
The public support the family has received is deeply appreciated, DelConte said.
"Everyone has been wonderful, and they know what a great kid she was," DelConte said.
"Hundreds" of people have stopped by the family's home with offers of assistance, including money to defray funeral expenses, DelConte said.