My daughter, Demi Brae Cuccia was born August 14, 1991 in Austell GA. She was born at home, a middle child with an older brother and a younger sister. Our bond was immediate; she was a delightful, precious little girl, with a smile decorated with dimples. Demi always wanted to help and please those she loved.
We moved back to our hometown of Monroeville Pa when Demi was three.
We became a single parent family in 1996. I homeschooled Demi and her siblings, however, due to the change in our family dynamics, public school was introduced. This was quite a difficult adjustment for us all, especially Demi. .
Demi was always very creative and a deep thinker. She loved animals, children and enjoyed spending time at home with me, her brother Jake and sister Saige. She loved to color as a young child and looked forward to visiting Conneaut Lake in the summers.
In the 6th grade Demi was diagnosed with ITP, a disorder that affected her platelets. She was a very sick little girl and was hospitalized several times in a thirteen month period. She was healed at age 14 and that is when her faith in her Lord grew deep, she was so thankful to be well and took nothing for granted.
Demi fought to be resilient and was wise beyond her age.
As she grew into a beautiful teen, she loved making friends, striving for harmony in our family and in friendships. Cheerleading for Gateway High School was an activity she loved..
Demi met John Mullarkey when she was 15; I believe like all young girls, she was flattered that a boy liked her. This relationship was off and on because she wasn't allowed to “Date,” however, she spent time with John because he was her older brother’s friend and he visited our home.
Looking back at the signs that I wished I would of known, she was frustrated and emotional due to excessive texts. John monopolized her time, wanted her to quit cheering etc. All warning signs of abuse. I didn't know at the time that this abuse was taking place and what the warning signs were. I thought of her behavior as a “Normal” way a teen might react to a situation. It was not normal, it was warning signs, signs that we all missed.
August 15, 2007, one Day after her 16th birthday, Demi was murdered by John in our home. She was home alone. She was stabbed
16 times. John now serves a life sentence with out the possibility of parole….
In a different way so do we.