From the highest high to the lowest low in just nine months…
Tiffani Hill got the best news last November — and it set her on a course that would lead to her death at just 31 years old.
The North California single mom won a whopping $2 million on a California Lottery scratch-off ticket. Almost immediately after the life-changing windfall she married boyfriend and baby daddy John Donato, and the couple moved to Oklahoma, along with their one-year-old daughter Leanne and Hill’s three other children from a previous relationship.
But whatever idyllic midwest life they were searching for together did not last long. According to authorities in Calera, OK, last Friday they got into a fight which ended with 42-year-old Donato shooting his new wife and their baby daughter before turning the gun on himself.
Related: Oklahoma Mother Charged After 12-Year-Old Daughter Births Child By ‘Boyfriend’ Twice Her Age
Both parents were found dead by the first police on the scene; Little Leanne was flown to a hospital in Dallas but ultimately did not survive her injuries. The FBI is investigating the matter due to one of the deceased being a Native American tribe member.
Hill’s family approached attorney Theresa McGehee who spoke out to local news outlet KXII after the victim’s name was released to the public this week. McGehee passed along sentiments from the family, who claim Hill had been a victim of domestic abuse for some time. Her mother says Tiffani had been “trying to get away” from Donato recently. McGehee says:
“Statistically that is the most dangerous time for anyone involved in domestic violence is around that time of separation.”
The attorney laments that Tiffani didn’t get professional help in getting away:
“The sadness is there are resources that people don’t reach out for.”
McGehee also acknowledges the elephant in the room, the lotto winnings, were indeed a source of friction for the couple. She says:
“Could that have sparked that argument? We’ll never have any way of knowing. But I do know there were times it caused conflict between them.”
Can you imagine getting such a huge sum of money, something that should alleviate so many worries, only to have it become something that causes violent fights??
McGehee also confirms Hill’s three other children were home at the time of the shooting but are all safe in state custody now. Apparently any money left by the deceased parents will go into a trust for those children.
Meanwhile the family started a GoFundMe because they don’t have access to Hill’s money — but they still need to pay for travel for the children and cremation for the mother’s remains. They’ve raised just $2,950 of their $10k goal as of this writing.
All that money, but it couldn’t buy the poor woman safety from her own husband…
McGehee says the family hopes the silver lining of this story will be that other victims of domestic abuse “will think this could be me next, this could be me and my child.” And maybe they’ll reach out for the help they need — before it’s too late.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
[Image via GoFundMe/Disney/YouTube.]
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