ABC7 Exclusive Interview: Shelly Engelhardt

May 29, 2009 8:45:14 PM PDT
Engelhardt survived an attack that claimed the life of her daughter, mother & husband.Shelly Engelhardt says she is determined to live.

"I realized that I was alive and there were others that weren't, and the first question I said was why, but I can't answer that and the only one that can answer that is God. So I have to leave it to God," said Engelhardt.

On April 17, according to the DuPage County State's Attorney D'Andre Howard, the boyfriend of her daughter Amanda, and father of their daughter, stabbed to death the "living rocks" of her life -- her 73-year-old mother, Marlene, her husband, Al, and her baby daughter, Laura, a Conant High School Senior set to graduate this spring.

Shelly herself hovered near death for 48 hours with a punctured lung and a stab wound that actually nicked her heart. But it wasn't enough to deter her spirit.

The home is still Shelly Englehart's home, the one she's had since she was 16 and she works to keep visitors comfortable. Physically, she says the scars -- like the one on her face from being intubated in the hospital -- will fade.

"Emotionally, I think I am healing but the way everybody keeps worrying about me, I am worried that maybe I'm not because they are always, 'are you okay, are you okay?'" said Shelly Engelhardt, survivor.

That sunny disposition is armor, though. After coming home, she decided she was going to make her life about living.

"I handle it by depending on my faith, on my God," said Engelhardt. "And I can focus on the lives?on my family that I lost, on their lives, and not their death."

She says the stabbings took place in the den off the kitchen, early in the morning. She can't recall much of what happened, but remembers Laura acting heroically, defending her family, a point made in police reports.

"There was a split second. There was a look in her eye when things happened that I knew... that I knew who she was," said Engelhardt. "I was in awe. I have to be proud. She in her very short life touched a lot, a lot of people, and I guess I wouldn't have known that if the event didn't happen."

She says she misses talking everyday to her mother and her laid back husband, Al.

"If I try to measure it, that's when it hurts...so I try to keep him with me as much as I can," said Engelhardt when asked how much she misses her husband.

After all the wakes and funerals, Laura's best friend gave her this photo album. It's a key part of her sanity.

"God said, you are staying here and I got you here for a reason... and I figure as I heal and our family gets together and gets stronger, that will come to life," said Engelhardt.

On Thursday, D'Andre Howard was arraigned in court and it appears his defense will be psychological in nature.

Shelly says it's the only explanation that makes sense. And as far as where she goes from here, she's looking for a job. She was let go from a pharmaceutical company in January.


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