7-year-old alerts school officials to parents' overdose deaths; child's aunt speaks out

MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Two people were found dead inside a McKeesport home Monday after a 7-year-old girl went to school and told someone that something was wrong with her parents, police said.

But for months, a family member had been trying to get help for the couple's four children.

Investigators confirmed that the bodies of 26-year-old Christopher Dilly and 25-year-old Jessica Lally were found around 5 p.m. Monday in a home in the 900 block of Evans Avenue.

Police said there was no foul play involved and that they suspect Dilly and Lally died of a drug overdose.

Lally's sister said she tried to get help for the children months ago.

"My sister wasn't the person she became when it came to drugs.  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," Courtney Lally said. "She loved her kids -- she did. She loved her mom, she loved me, she loved us."

She said it was heartbreaking to learn her 7-year-old niece got herself ready for school, then went to school and told someone something was wrong with her mom and dad.

"That's like the hardest thing because that's a 7-year-old," Courtney Lally said. "That's a 7-year-old that did that."

Three other children, ages 9 months, 3 and 5, were also living in the home. They were all taken to a hospital to be evaluated and will be placed with Allegheny County Children Youth and Families, authorities said.

Courtney Lally said she had been trying to get police and CYF involved since February. She also reached out to Channel 11's Courtney Brennan and asked if there was anything Channel 11 could do. She ended up contacting police, sending them photos of the deplorable Munhall home where her sister and Dilly lived with their children.

Courtney Lally said Jessica became furious and moved her family to McKeesport.

"I feel like if I wouldn't have done that, it would have been way different and we could have made up months ago, and she'd be here today," Lally said.

Lally said she will go to court to try to get custody of her nieces and nephews. To others who are helping loved ones fight addiction, she said, "Just don't stop trying. Keep pushing it. Make them understand you love them and you're doing this because you love them."

Courtney Lally said she and her mother will be at a hearing on Wednesday where they will try to get temporary custody of the children.

Neighbors said they didn’t notice anything unusual at the home in which the children’s parents were found.

“They were acting normal. No indications. Nothing,” neighbor Jordon McCallister said.

Though overdose is the suspected cause of death, an official cause and manner had not been ruled as of Tuesday. Autopsies will be conducted, the medical examiner said.

Earlier Monday, a suspected heroin overdose occurred on the same street, Channel 11 News learned.

Police are investigating both incidents.

The McKeesport School District issued the following report about the incident:

"Our school district took immediate action after we were notified of the concerns shared by one of our students on their route home. We alerted all appropriate officials and ensured the students' safety. Each school in our district offers counseling to any student who needs it. We will be available for the family affected by this tragedy."

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