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Mauled to Death by a Pit Bull, Adonis Reddick Was Still Nobody's Victim 

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click to enlarge Danielle Reddick (with daughter, Aubrey) took over her father's house after his death. - PHOTO BY DOYLE MURPHY
  • Danielle Reddick (with daughter, Aubrey) took over her father's house after his death.

Adonis won joint custody of his daughter in 2010, and she came to live with him in the house on the hill.

Danielle, then thirteen, was painfully shy. She had begun to clash with her mother, but rather than act out as some teens might, she turned inward.

"I was sort of depressed," she says now. "I had thoughts of hurting myself, and when he took me in, I felt like I was blessed."

In her father, she found a patient and careful listener. He had fought his entire life to be heard, and he became his daughter's confidant. Boys. School. Life. Adonis listened to it all, offering suggestions and perspectives Danielle might not have considered. Slowly, with her dad's prodding, she began to find her voice.

"He did a lot for me," she says. "He taught me to speak up for myself and say my mind."

All the lessons he'd learned as a boy and honed as a man began to filter down to his daughter. Thin and pretty with her father's eyes, Danielle says she was a timid child, but her dad taught her to face her fears. She gives an example.

"It's funny, well, it's not funny, but I used to be terrified of dogs," she says.

Adonis kept two in the house. One was a small, sweet-natured German shepherd mix named Cachet. The other was a 72-pound pit bull, Milow. The bigger dog belonged to a friend, 30-year-old Ashley Sheffield, whom Adonis had mentored over the years, his relatives say.

Sheffield says she met Adonis when she was just three years old, at a time when he and his girlfriend, Halk, were still living together in a Hanley Hills apartment complex. He became a constant source of encouragement and advice. She credits him with guiding her through troubled teenage years, and she later moved into a spare bedroom of his house for a time.

"If he couldn't be there physically or help you financially, he would always find a way to help you," Sheffield says.

She estimates she spent about a year living with Adonis and his daughter in Spanish Lake. Those were good times. Adonis had a talent for fun. He would plan weekend trips to the zoo or get everyone out of the house to go to the St. Louis Science Center.

"I loved it," she says. "I enjoyed the time I had with him and being with Danielle. It was always positive every day."

Sheffield eventually found her own place, but they kept in touch, talking as recently as a month before he was killed.

The news of his death was devastating, she says.

"I felt like someone had literally snatched something from inside of me that I didn't even know existed," Sheffield says. "And now I'm left with a lot of emotions inside of me. There's no way that I'll ever feel the same not being able to call him."

As for Milow, she'll say only that Adonis knew the dog since he was a puppy. He never would have taken him on if he thought he was in danger.

"He helped me with the dog," she says. "He knew what he was doing."

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