Va. Community Raises Funds to Help Officer Whose Ex-Wife Was Charged With Murdering Their Daughter

By Emily Ward | October 23, 2018 | 1:41pm EDT
Officer Ed Orellana with daughters Eliza (L) and Olivia (R) (Screenshot: GoFundMe) -- A fundraiser was held on Monday at the Old Brogue Irish Pub in Great Falls, Va., to help Police Officer Ed Orellana, whose ex-wife has been charged with killing their 8-year-old daughter Eliza and wounding their 11-year-old daughter Olivia on September 21.

Since Eliza's murder and the arrest of his ex-wife, Officer Orellana, a member of the Fairfax County Department, has taken leave from work to devote his full attention to caring for Olivia, who had been shot in the leg. Due to his time off and the loss of his usual overtime assignments, Orellana has been facing financial hardship.

To help support him in his time of need, area residents gathered Monday evening at the Old Brogue for the fundraiser, a dinner event featuring a raffle and live auction, organized by Bob Nelson, who also hosts a monthly Military Appreciation Monday dinner at the pub.

Proceeds from Monday night's fundraiser "will come in somewhere between $13,000 -$15,000,” Nelson told on Tuesday. Additionally, individuals and organizations, such as Great Falls Creamery and Great Falls Exxon, co-sponsored Monday’s event by promisng to match 10 percent of the total tab from the pub fundraiser.

Nelson, who has met Officer Orellana on several occasions, said the outpouring of support for Officer Orellana is well-deserved:

“He was such a great guy, such a nice guy, and he’s one of those police officers that you don’t see on the news because he does everything quietly and does it so well.”

Old Brogue Owner Mike Kearney said he and Gary McKeown, owner of the nearby Great Falls Creamery, did not think twice about helping the Orellana family. “The nice thing about Great Falls is we all try to protect and give for one another whenever anyone’s in need,” said Kearney. “Even though Great Falls is only 17 miles out of the Washington capital, it’s a pretty unique community when it comes to giving back or, as I say, having a heart.”

Kearney is donating at least 10 percent of the total proceeds from Monday’s dinner to a GoFundMe page that was set up by Orellana’s friend and fellow police officer Nathan Keysor.

That page has so far raised $102,697 for Orellana, and it does not include the money raised from Monday’s event, said host Bob Nelson.

McKeown said that Officer Orellana always made sure high school workers at Great Falls Creamery were safe while closing up the ice cream shop at night. “When it’s dark, Ed comes in every night to check on the girls, make sure they’re okay, they’re safe, that there’s nobody lurking around in the parking lot and they’re just, you know, safe,” McKeown said.

“You talk to any merchant here in Great Falls Affiliate Center and each and every one of them is going to have a story similar to how Ed always goes out of his way to make sure everything’s fine, that everybody’s safe,” McKeown said.

“He’s the epitome of what you want out of a small town policeman,” he added. McKeown’s Great Falls Creamery gave out free ice cream scoops to attendees of Monday’s fundraiser.

A woman who arrived before the start of Monday’s event was unable to stay but she insisted on making a $400 donation. Others attendees shared anecdotes about how Officer Orellana had helped people in the community.

Nelson recalled how Orellana investigated robberies, sat outside Adeler Jewelers at closing time to make sure things “went according to plan,” helped a local citizen’s daughter change a tire and calmed down a “petrified” new driver after pulling her over.

“By the time he was done he had her so calm,” said Nelson. “He did not give her a ticket, but left her understanding that she shouldn’t do what she had done. So that’s, that’s really the kind of, kind of guy that he is.”

Fairfax County police officer Jeff Gossett, who has been on the same squad as Orellana for four years, said, “I appreciate you all getting together to do this. I know that there’s nothing that anybody can do that’s going to bring Eliza back, but just the help that’s been given to Ed, and I’ll tell you, it’s taken just a little bit of his worries off of his mind.”

Anyone who missed the event at the Old Brogue but would like to help the Orellana family can contribute via the GoFundMe page. GoFundMe has waived its three percent transaction fee for the page.

“All the credit goes to the community for doing that and coming out and showing their support for Ed,” McKeown said. “And I think that is a testament to Ed and the 19 years he’s been on the force, and been helping to protect all of us here.”

The Old Brogue event was one of three local fundraisers held in support of the Orellana family. The others, both in Great Falls, took place at Mookie’s BBQ on Oct. 11 and El Tio Tex-Mex Grill on Oct. 18.

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