Family Survivors Left to Cope

Family's college-aged son left to deal with details

Hearing the details of the multiple stabbing deaths in Hoffman Estates last week leaves most of us wondering how such a thing could happen. How could a 20-year-old man grab a butcher knife and kill his girlfriend's loved ones? How could an argument get so out of control?

We wonder, but imagine how stunned and saddens the remaining family members must be. Perhaps we can't even imagine such things.

Fifty-two-year-old Shelly Engelhardt, the wife, mother and daughter of the three people killed in the attack early Friday morning, remained in critical condition Sunday in the intensive care unit at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, The Daily Herald reported Monday.

With his mother incapacitated, his father, sister and grandmother dead, Jeff Engelhardt, a junior at Southern Illinois University, is left to deal with the aftermath on his own.

"He's being very, very mature," said Rev. Bill Cate, associate pastor at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg.

"He's being asked to make decisions no 20-year-old should have to make," Cate told the paper after meeting with Jeff and three other relatives Sunday afternoon.

D'Andre D. Howard, 20, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated unlawful restraint.

Howard had been dating Amanda Engelhardt, 23, for three years, according to authorities, and they have an 8-month-old child together.

The rampage at the Hoffman Estates home stemmed from an argument between Howard and Amanda Engelhardt, authorities said.

The Daily Herald outlines the series of events that led to the deaths of each family member.

As each was awakened by the loud argument in the family's kitchen, Howard first ordered Amanda and the baby out of the house, then fought off and attacked her mother; her 18-year-old sister Laura; her father, Alan Engelhardt, 57; and her grandmother, Marlene Gacek, 73.

"The last family member to come on the scene was Alan's mother, who is 85," the paper reports.

"She saw her son lying lifeless," Cook County prosecutor Maria McCarthy said Saturday, adding that the family's paternal grandmother was not injured.

Cate said the funerals of Alan and Laura Engelhardt would be held at the his church but that Gacek's service would be at St. Hubert, a Catholic Church in Hoffman Estates.

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