She doesn't know them, but Mundelein resident Katie Henning felt compelled to help the family of an 11-year-old girl who authorities say was stabbed to death by her older half-sister.
Henning, a marketing executive and mother of four, created a site on www.gofundme.com to raise money for funeral expenses and the effort is spreading exponentially.
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"It's not Katie Henning doing this -- there are 800 moms. It's the community," said Henning, who is a member of a Facebook group called Mundelein Mom's.
She reported $3,864 has been contributed by 119 people. The goal initially was set at $5,000.
The effort began within a day of news that Dora Betancourt had been stabbed to death Tuesday morning in her home on Woodhaven Court. Her 14-year-old half-sister has been charged with first-degree murder in the case and she is held at the Hulse Juvenile Detention Center near Vernon Hills.
Dora's identity has not been released by authorities, but it was included in her parents' divorce records and confirmed by people who knew her. The Daily Herald is not publishing Dora's half-sister's name because she is charged as a juvenile.
No new details about the murder were released Thursday, but officials from the Department of Children and Family Services said an investigation was opened Wednesday into the girls' mother for neglect and the older sister for abuse.
Karen Hawkins, a DCFS spokeswoman, said the agency did not have any contact with the family before Tuesday. The department has 60 days to complete its investigation, Hawkins said.
Visitation for Dora Betancourt is scheduled for 2 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at Kristan Funeral Home, 216 W. Maple Ave., Mundelein.
A second visitation is set for 9 to 11 a.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church, 501 W. Park Ave., Libertyville. The funeral will follow at 11 a.m. at the church.
Henning said Thursday she felt compelled to do something to help to help the family.
"I'm a mom of four. It's such a tragic story. It just really affected me," she said.
Mundelein Mom's was started about a year ago and has gathered 800 members. Usually, participants tackle routine issues and challenges, such as how to find a plumber.
"We help solve problems and work together as a community," she said. Members also have posted the fundraising site on their personal Facebook pages.
"The moms are responding," she added.
The funds will be directed to St. John Lutheran Church in Libertyville.
"At this time of such horrendous hurt, we are comforted by the love and care so many are sharing," Pastor Kevin Raddatz said in a statement. "We thank our neighbors for their concern and for respecting the family's privacy at this time of hurt. This community is showing itself to be more than strangers but a family that cares."
Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther also thanked the moms for their support in a posting on the site.
"For you to take the time from your busy lives to organize this support is a very comforting thing," he wrote.
Authorities said the 14-year-old suspect called 911 about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, not long after the attack, Guenther said.
Police discovered the victim's body on a bedroom floor. She had been stabbed more than 30 times, authorities said. A small kitchen knife believed to be the murder weapon was recovered in the room, police said.
The girls were alone when the murder occurred, Guenther said.
The older girl attacked her sibling because she felt unappreciated, authorities said.
•Staff Writer Lee Filas contributed to this report.