Slater said she was very close with her mother. She spoke with her almost every day, whether it was to get a recipe from her, tell her about her three grandchildren, or help her with “what she was going through.”
As a girl, Slater said, she lived in Edmeston with her mother and “Bob” O’Shields. The two met and married in 1984 after Mariann divorced Slater’s biological father years earlier. Slater, who was 5 years old at the time of the marriage, said O’Shields would not allow her biological father, Richard Moratto, to see her.
For a time, Mariann worked at New York Central Mutual Insurance Co., in Edmeston, Slater said. But for the majority of Slater’s childhood, Mariann was a stay-at-home mom. Slater said she has a 29-year-old half-brother who lives in Pennsylvania and a younger sister, the girl who lived with Mariann at the shelter.
“She was a very loving and caring mother,” Slater said.
When O’Shields and Mariann moved to South New Berlin years later, they owned a carpet store there called “The Carpet Cave,” Slater said. In 2008, they sold their house and moved to South Carolina.
But it wasn’t long before it became obvious to Slater that O’Shields was not letting Mariann see her sister or call Slater, she said. After living with what Slater described as the controlling husband for many years, Mariann decided to move into the Safe Homes Crisis Center six weeks ago.
“She didn’t feel safe,” Slater added.
Deputies said they are still trying to determine how O’Shields knew Mariann was living at Safe Homes Crisis Center. It would not have been difficult for O’Shields to follow a cab back to the shelter, Slater said, but it’s torturous for her to speculate because she wasn’t there.