In a heartbreakingly tragic day, a mother found out that her 7-year-old daughter was dead. But that was just the worst of the bad news. Police say the alleged murderer was the girl’s father. Gabrielle White, 7, a second-grader in New Rochelle, New York, about 30 minutes outside of New York City was found dead in her father’s home after the child’s babysitter tipped off police. Police arrested her father, 47-year-old Neil White. He and the girl’s mother Michelle Hord-White were estranged.
White’s wife, Michelle Hord-White, filed for divorce in April, according to Westchester County records. The couple was living apart and shared custody of Gabrielle, police said.
“No words could sum up all that Gabrielle meant to us but she was our light,” Hord-White and her family said in a statement. “We are broken and devastated that our sweet little girl is gone but we’re thankful that we had seven wonderful years with her. While we begin to mourn privately, we thank those friends, colleagues, neighbors and strangers for the tremendous support that we’ve already received.”
The family suggested those who wish to make a memorial donation make one at the hordfoundation.org, P.O. Box 4671 Danbury, CT 06813.
Their page reads: It is Michelle’s wish that her daughter’s life be remembered in a positive light and recognized for all of the many great things she represented to so many people. Thus, if you wish to help memorialize her, please consider donating in any amount. Donations will go to the Hord’s Family Foundation. The Hord Foundation stands for “helping others realize their dreams” and the family wants to celebrate the dreams of young people who will have an opportunity that Gabrielle will not have to pursue higher education and make a difference in the world.
Hord-White, originally from Detroit, works as vice president for talent acquisition and campus programs at NBC Universal and previously worked at “America’s Most Wanted,” according to her Facebook page.
White has worked in local politics and was working toward a master’s degree in public administration at the College of New Rochelle, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Police responded to the home once before, for a domestic dispute in January between Neil White and Michelle Hord-White. It was a verbal dispute which was resolved and officers left after a few minutes, police said.
White had blood on his wrists when arrested, police say. That blood is what alerted the babysitter that something was awry when she came to the house and she called police.
PHOTOS: Family handout, Facebook, New Rochelle police