Donato's Closet

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After David said he "forgot how to walk" and threw up bloody water, LaFramboise told Connie Dalrymple, who also lived in the house, the boy needed to be taken to the hospital. Connie wouldn't hear of it; she was worried doctors would find out about her brother Lindy's abuse, LaFramboise told prosecutors.

That evening David was finally taken to a hospital, where his life ended early the next morning.

The Broward medical examiner's office determined that David died of beatings which occurred over a six-week period. Lindy recalls that he initially told detectives, "My father used to hit me, but I would never hit David that way." He was jailed on charges of manslaughter and aggravated child abuse. Soon the Dalrymple family was all over the news in South Florida, which at the time was absorbed in the disappearance of another well-known little boy: Adam Walsh.

Donato steadfastly avoided reporters back then. He says he never really wanted to know what happened to David. He never cared much about the boy when he was alive and wouldn't have known him "if he showed up on my porch." He says he saw David on occasion but never played with him or touched him.

Just as he seemed to blindly leap to the side of Elian's Miami relatives, Donato unquestioningly supported Lindy. Ignoring the information in the court file, Donato still proclaims Lindy's innocence, calling his brother "the most sensitive, humble, and kindest man I've ever been around."

"Me and my brother are very, very close," Donato says. "It broke my heart -- here was an innocent young guy who was going to have to go prison. He was set up. There had to be a scapegoat, and my brother was the guy."

While he was out of jail on bond, Lindy and his cousin were married. At the same time their families, the Dalrymples and the Wallers, began a nasty feud over David's death. The main cause of the dispute: Patricia Waller's mother was cooperating with detectives against Lindy. She swore in a deposition that Donato, with Lindy sitting next to him, chased her in his car and tried to run her off the road. Donato doesn't remember the event but says things between the families got ugly.

Lindy was sentenced to fifteen years in prison, seven of which he served. Today Lindy and Patricia Dalrymple live in Sunrise. Lindy still doesn't admit to killing David, but he does allow that he was a terrible person back then and concedes he abused David. "I thank God for what happened with David," says Lindy, who has a clean record since leaving prison. "I wouldn't be the man I am today if it wouldn't have happened."

Lindford Dalrymple, Sr., died in 1984 of cancer, but family members, including Donato, say it was the stress of Lindy's trial that really killed him. Their sister Connie, meanwhile, became a drug addict and is now in prison after a 1997 arrest for prostitution, dealing cocaine within 1000 feet of a school, and fraud charges. Donato attributes his sister's problems to having too many children (five, with three different men).

"Like me, she was always looking for love in all the wrong places, but she wasn't fortunate enough to escape the children part of it like I was," Donato says.

Donato has been married four times, twice to the same woman, and he's looked for love in some pretty exotic places. He brought his first wife to the United States from Hungary in 1991, and during the next 30 months he married and divorced her twice. He found his second wife, Liliana Sanchez, in Colombia. Their two-year marriage was stormy and involved two police-documented fights. Dalrymple was listed as both a suspect and a victim in a domestic dispute in 1995, which was closed with no charges filed, according to Lauderhill police records. The following year he was clearly the victim: Sanchez split open the back of his head by hitting him with the point of a high-heeled shoe, according to police. "It was a relationship that wasn't normal," he says. "I was being pushed around. Then one day -- boom! -- I got whacked in the head with a shoe, and that was it."

Two years after divorcing Sanchez in 1997 he married Tanya Polosina, whom he brought over from the Ukraine. He initially told New Times he met Polosina during a European sojourn. But when confronted with his mother Jennie's statement it was a marriage born of "correspondence," Dalrymple conceded he met her on the Internet, where the 26-year-old beauty (Dalrymple is 40) was advertising for an American husband. Dalrymple says he didn't pay for his wife; he simply invited her to America. While Jennie Dalrymple says Tanya has worked tirelessly to keep Dalrymple's cleaning business afloat while her husband has been busy with Elian, Dalrymple says Tanya only helps out occasionally and isn't his employee.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman