By Kathy Boccella Inquirer Staff Writer In recent years, Ellen slipped deeper into her problems and away from her friends. By early 2004, she rarely left the house or returned phone calls. In March of that year, she still hadn’t taken down her Christmas tree. The house was so cluttered it was hard to get past the front door.
“Things were bad,” Pedlow said. Her friend sought counseling, Pedlow said, but she claimed that antidepressants aggravated her chronic colitis.
Five months ago, Ellen finally consulted a lawyer and rented a place in King of Prussia for $1,550 a month. She expected to get $4,000 in monthly support, Ellen told the real estate agent.
It was her daughter who gave Ellen the push she needed, Art Gregory said.
Ellen worried that stress at home was harming the girl. And something else was troubling her, Gregory said: Was it just 12-year-old attitude or had her daughter begun to mimic Rafael’s belittling behavior?
“She didn’t want [her daughter] to think that’s how men treated women,” Pedlow said.
In December, Ellen asked Rafael to move into the townhouse, police said. When he refused, she decided to take her daughter and leave instead.
Pedlow remembers her last conversation with Ellen, two days before her friend was beaten beyond recognition at her kitchen table.
“I’m turning 50, my life is changing,” Ellen said. “I want a better life for me and I want a better life for my daughter.”
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