Princess Anne Family Gets Help After Tragedy - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Princess Anne Family Gets Help After Tragedy

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Valentina Downing and grandchildren receive help after tragedy. (Photo: WBOC) Valentina Downing and grandchildren receive help after tragedy. (Photo: WBOC)

PRINCESS ANNE, Md.- Nearly two months after tragedy struck a Princess Anne family, the Wicomico County Habitat for Humanity is looking to raise money to expand a family's home. 

Authorities said that on Dec. 6, Airealle Sells and her two children Adyahnn and Naomy were brutally beaten by Sells' boyfriend, Sharef Dontre Hayward. After one week, Sells - who was also stabbed in the attack - succumbed to her injuries. Grandmother, Valentina Downing, claimed custody of the children, ages 4 and 8. They are still at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore recovering. 

After realizing the children would need a place to come back to that was handicap accessible, Downing immediately got worried. She made a phone call to Molly Hilligoss at the Wicomico County Habitat for Humanity to see if there was anything she could do. 

"She gave me that hope, that's where it all began. I was just sitting in the chair looking out the window with tears running down my face. I'm thinking my babies just lost their mother, I lost a daughter. How am I going to tell them, what can I do to make this ordeal better?" Downing said. 

Even though Hilligoss knew they normally didn't leave Wicomico County, she said after hearing Valentina's story, they could make an exception. 

"This is a tragedy that we can turn into something beautiful," Hilligoss said.  

Volunteers came together and Don Taylor, from the Chesapeake Housing Mission, said when he heard Valentina needed help, he didn't think twice. 

"Her situation is just very dramatic and you just want to help," Taylor said. 

Project managers estimate the entire build to cost between $40,000 and $70,000. On Thursday night, they will be gathering at the United Methodist Church in Princess Anne to discuss fundraising efforts. 

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