2-year-old Tennessee girl fighting for life after she was hit by stray bullet while playing on backyard slide
Ariel Salaices is said to be in critical condition after the incident, with investigators now on the hunt for the perpetrator
A two-year-old Tennessee girl is in critical condition and fighting for her life after she was struck in the head by a stray bullet while she was playing on a slide in the backyard of her Mountain City home with her siblings.
A GoFundMe Page which has been set up to raise money which will go towards covering the costs of Ariel Salaices' surgeries stated she was playing with her two brothers, aged 12 and five, on Friday, March 15, when she was hit on the right side of her head by a stray bullet.
Her brother rushed to get help, and the two-year-old reportedly managed to run about 20 feet before collapsing. Her father immediately picked her up, put her in his vehicle, and sped to the closest Johnson County emergency medical services unit for her treatment.
From there, she was flown to Johnson City Medical Center before being transferred to the East Tennessee Children's Hospital in Knoxville. A subsequent CT showed that the bullet had hit the right back side of her head, fractured, and penetrated her skull.
This had severed an artery, causing extensive damage and resulting in her suffering a stroke and having no function or blood flow to the trauma area.
While doctors initially tried to avoid going to surgery, the damage meant an operation was inevitable, with surgeons having to remove a piece of her skull on the right side to subside the pressure. The procedure would prove successful, with Ariel's pressure and heart rate reportedly back to non-threatening levels.
According to the latest update made on a Facebook page dedicated to following her recovery, her intracranial pressure (ICP) is now in the low teens and doctors have stopped blood pressure medications, her epi drip, and are weaning her off the phenobarbitol.
Investigators are still trying to track down the person who fired the shot which hit Ariel in the head and have ruled out the possibility that the bullet came from a gun range located close to the family's home.
Stephanie Brown, her aunt, pleaded for the person responsible to confess and give themselves up. "I just have to say that even if it was an accident, I know they have to know what happened," she said. ". It's been all over the news. They really need to come forward."
She said Ariel was a "very spunky little girl" and that she was "sassy and full of life," adding that her mother and father were staying at a Ronald McDonald House near the East Tennessee Children's hospital so they could continue keeping a vigil at her bedside.
The GoFundMe Page has raised $13,025 out of a possible $15,000 goal in just four days at the time of writing. "She [Ariel] has already proved she's so strong and we have many plans for that little girl, so we have plenty of faith that the Lord is going to work in his way," the page read.