At 85 years of age, Rita Hreha kept an active schedule. She had her hair done on Thursdays and met friends for lunch every Friday.

The petite octogenarian was an independent sort who insisted on carrying her own heavy shopping bags into her tidy Yeadon home. She still drove and until recently had lived alone after her husband's death.

She was a gentle and kind soul who was generous to a fault, her neighbors said.

That generosity may have prompted Hreha to invite her 26-year-old grandnephew and his 22-year-old girlfriend - both drug addicts - to live with her in the split-level stone house her husband built. And that invitation may have resulted in her death.

On Thursday, police charged the grandnephew, David J. Galdo, and his girlfriend, Krystal Mariani, with the murder of Hreha.

The investigation started Wednesday when Hreha's friends, unable to reach her, contacted her nephew David M. Galdo, according to court records.

David M. Galdo contacted police and then went to his aunt's Ruskin Lane home, where he forced open a door and found her body on the kitchen floor with a pillow over her face.

Galdo's son, David J., "became a suspect very early on," Yeadon Police Chief Donald J. Molineux said.

In 2007, the grandnephew had been arrested for stealing money from his great-aunt. Hreha declined to press charges, but her bank did, police said.

Molineux said the two suspects had been a couple for about five years and have a 2-year-old son, who is now with Mariani's relatives.

The grandnephew was recently released from Delaware County prison after serving time for drug offenses, Molineux said. He said the two were addicted to heroin and crack.

Yvonne Braham, 75, a neighbor, said that when David M. Galdo found out his aunt had taken in his son and the son's girlfriend, he was upset. Braham said he told her that "I told my aunt never to let them come here."

The accused are now pointing fingers at each other, according to court documents.

Mariani said that Hreha refused a request for money and that while she stole the victim's checkbook, Galdo hit his great-aunt over the head in the kitchen.

Galdo claims that Mariani hit the elderly woman with "a glass-duck figurine."

The two then cashed a check for about $500 on the victim's account and used the money to buy drugs, according to court records.

A volunteer firefighter spotted the two in Darby Township and called 911.

Contact staff writer Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149 or