An outpouring of generosity is bringing a little bit of sunshine to the reeling Spring community — and beyond — just days after the execution-style murders of six people, including four children. Donations to an online campaign to assist the heroic surviving teenage daughter are speeding towards a once lofty $150,000 goal — with the new goal being set at $200,000.
The "Stay Family Tragedy - Cassidy Stay Fund" approached the 150 grand mark Friday afternoon on GoFundMe.com with more than 2,800 people contributing in less than 24 hours (the fund went live the day after mass shooting suspect Ron Lee Haskell went on the rampage against the family of his ex-wife).
"We just broke $106,000 this morning at 0840, only about 20 hours after the site was created," Jody Dellinger, district manager for Harris County Water Control & Improvement District 110 Parks & Recreation, posted on the site. "I cannot express how proud and excited I am to be a part of such an awesome show of love that this site has become!"
Cassidy made the 911 call despite suffering a bullet fracture to the skull — and has been hailed as a hero in a family statement.
Dellinger, along with first responders and numerous community members, initiated the GoFundMe fundraiser with the approval of the Stay family.
Stephen and Katie Stay, along with four of their five children, were killed execution style by Haskell at their home in the 700 block of Leaflet Lane in Spring on Wednesday. Haskell — a former FedEx worker — wore a FedEx delivery uniform to gain entry to the house.
Katie Stay is the sister of Haskell's ex-wife. His ex-wife Melannie Lyon lives out of state and was not at the home.
Cassidy Stay, the 15-year-old daughter, played dead until Haskell left the home and alerted authorities that he was headed to her grandparents' house, saving them from likely being murdered. Cassidy made the 911 call despite suffering a bullet fracture to the skull — and has been hailed as a hero in a family statement. She is currently in critical but stable condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital.
Haskell, 33, was booked into Harris County Jail with no bond and faces multiple capital murder charges in the deaths of the parents and their two boys, ages 4 and 14, and the two girls, ages 7 and 9. He collapsed in his first court appearance Friday morning and was taken out in a wheelchair.
Dellinger noted that the "Stay Family Tragedy - Cassidy Stay Fund" fundraising efforts to help with funeral, medical and ongoing care expenses will continue for a few weeks.
"Original goal was 10K, the 40K, then 100K," Dellinger wrote. "Last night I raised the goal to 150K. I would absolutely LOVE to see this run to about $250K. This will DEFINITELY be an enormous help to 15-year-old Cassidy and the family as they sort through in the near future."
To make a donation, click here.