It was a tragic start of the week for one Pennsylvania 7-year-old girl after she found her parents dead in their home on Oct. 3.
The young girl told school officials she was unable to rouse her parents Christopher Dilly, 26, and Jessica Lally, 25, on Monday morning as she readied for school.
The Pittsburgh Action News reported that responding officers were dispatched to the home in the 900 block of Evans Avenue at around 5 p.m. for a welfare check, where they discovered Dilly and Lally unresponsive in the living room. Police suspect the pair died of a drug overdose.
“Early indications are they may have been there for a day or two,” Allegheny County police Lt. Andrew Schurman said.
The couple’s other children—a 5-year-old boy, a 3-year-old boy, and a 9-month-old girl—were also in the home. They were taken to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for medical evaluation and will subsequently be placed with Allegheny County Children Youth and Families (CYF), police said.
Lally’s sister, Courtney said she had made several attempts to remove her nieces and nephews from their toxic environment. She said she had previously contacted CYF and sent images of the family’s deplorable living conditions to authorities.
She added, “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.”
On the same day, another fatal overdose occurred on the same street where Dilly and Lally lived.
The deaths are a microcosm of Allegheny County’s drug epidemic, where the county reported 422 drug overdose deaths last year, according to a recent report.
The United Nation’s World Drug Report found that almost 500,000 people in the United States have died from drug overdoses since 2004, with 61 percent of those deaths stemming from the use of prescription opioids and heroin.