SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio organization is doing what it can to provide for a girl whose father is accused of killing her mother.
The girl’s mother, Andreen McDonald, was killed, dismembered and burned in 2019 before her remains were found months later.
Andre McDonald, the girl’s father, was arrested for murder and tampering with evidence in connection with the death.
Pamela Allen, CEO of Eagles Flight San Antonio, has been helping the girl, who is now 10 years old, along with Hyacinth Smith, her grandmother and Andreen McDonald’s mother.
“The family ended up calling me, asking if I could help with burying Andreen, and I said, ‘Absolutely,’” said Allen. “I got together with Kim Rapier, and she gave me $15,000 more to bury her.”
Allen’s help to the family has been more than appreciated.
“We paid for the funeral, and we understood that the family’s finances were on hold,” she said. “We knew that her grandmother had to still raise this baby and cope with the aftermath of what happened.”
Eagles Flight San Antonio has been able to provide help with bills and groceries and even gave the little girl holiday celebrations.
“We had this private meeting with Santa Claus for her and the children of Mary Rodriguez, who was murdered after Andreen,” Allen said. “These children had no mother or father during the holiday.
At one of those celebrations, Allen learned that Andreen’s daughter, who is autistic, has a fear of men.
“As we were walking in, she saw men, and she immediately grabbed her grandmother’s hand and said, ‘There is men! There is men!’ She started having a meltdown,” Allen said. “She has autism, and so from what she’s been through, she saw men as being aggressors and being someone she needs to be afraid of. I had the men sit down and wait for her to approach, but people in the room just started weeping, knowing what she had been through.”
Allen said, eventually, they were able to calm her down to enjoy the presents and experience. However, she said the hardships the girl has had to deal with are some that no child should have to go through.
“From having to move out of the house she lived in with her mother and father to now they are just staying with family members because they don’t have the ability to get a home on their own,” Allen said.
She added that the girl is beyond traumatized.
“She has made and said some things that have come out quite clear that she witnessed some events. However, because she has autism, her statements are not valid,” said Allen, who has an autistic son. “It is so frustrating to me because their ability to record these incidents and keep repeating them and for her to actually play them out, and that is hard to hear from a little girl that has lost her momma. To me, it doesn’t make sense when you understand someone with autism. They are critical thinkers. Things are very black and white. It is hard to get them to lie because if it didn’t happen, they are not going to say it.”
Allen said Smith is still devastated as well.
“I talked to her today, and I said, ‘Hey, Hyacinth, how are you doing?’ She said, ‘You know, trying to stay positive,’” Allen said. “And she is trying because she has a girl she has to raise that is an extension of Andreen. And, of course, she wants to hold on to Andreen as much as she can through her daughter. No words to describe the depth of her sorrow.”
Allen said she was outraged to see that Andre McDonald had posted bond.
“I was so angry because Andreen’s mother and child had been kicked out of the home they lived in, displaced, gone through trauma and struggled to even get food, and yet this man gets so much grace,” Allen said. “It was frustrating to hear that. I was so angry. He gets freedom, and they are so scared that they have secluded themselves. Legally, it might make sense to the justice system, but to most people in the street, you think, ‘Wait, what just happened?’”
Allen said the family is beyond angry at the justice system.
“They are angry. “They are angry at what her daughter has had to go through after all of this, and it was through (Andre’s) hand and will that he was OK with them being thrown out of the house,” Allen said. “That is his daughter, after all. I don’t understand his detachment for her. The mother wasn’t able to get access to Andreen’s funds, but he is still able to keep property and finances in the bank, but nothing was shared with his own daughter to make sure she was taken care of, nothing to make sure his daughter didn’t go hungry. He was OK with not taking care of her.”
Because of that, Allen said she has gone on shopping trips to help the girl as she grows older and needs more clothes.
“She is silly. She is rambunctious,” Allen said. “She is funny. I like interacting with her. We argue. It is great to be able to have that with her because she has to move forward. She does so through the memories of her mother. It is bittersweet to go shopping because I know that her mother would have loved to be here and to get these things for her. Andreen was such a beautiful diva. I wanted to get some things that maybe she would have picked out for her.”
Allen had this to say to Andre McDonald, who is currently on partial house arrest and is allowed to work.
“You have crushed so many hearts,” Allen said. “And you have the ability to let your legacy, at least, be one of repentance, and he should, if he is even capable of doing the right thing, I wish he would and take care of his daughter.”
The organization asks anyone who would like to help make donations to Andreen’s daughter or any other child they support who has lost their parents to visit their website at www.eaglesflightsa.com.