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Cheektowaga abuse victim's mother: "this is my second chance"

Posted at 3:47 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 20:26:41-04

“I’m just happy to be in her life and she’s safe.”

After 10 years, Amanda Prechtel is finally reconnecting with her daughter.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” said Prechtel via Zoom.

Prechtel said more than 10 years ago, the Seneca Nation of Indians Peacemaker’s Court gave her daughter’s father full custody because he is a member of the Seneca Nation and she isn't.

“I believe they used my daughter as a political football. I tried reaching out to governors, anyone who would listen, to explain this isn’t right what they did," the mother said.

Prechtel’s daughter, who is now 16, is at the center of an abuse case in the Town of Cheektowaga. Investigators said 40-year-old James McGonnell and 54-year-old Carol Steinagle kept the girl in a room in the garage, sometimes for more than 12 hours at a time, and repeatedly beat her over the course of a two year period.

“They terrorized this child and threatened to kill her on numerous occasions,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn explained.

Prechtel admits she’s made mistakes in the past. That includes battling with alcohol addiction. But today, she said she’s sober, and focused on helping her daughter in any way she can.

“We have are whole lives together now. I couldn’t be more happy. This is such a blessing not just for me but my whole family.”

We reached out to the Seneca Nation, but we’re told through a spokesman that the Nation’s courts do not discuss court cases.

The victim is staying with another relative. Prechtel said she plans to see her daughter again soon, and may file for custody, but only at her daughter’s request.