Casey Ketcherside spends more than 20 hours a day at UMC sitting beside her 17-month-old daughter Nevaeha's hospital bed. She describes her sleepless nights as a mother's worst nightmare.
It all began on March 2nd when she got a call from Nevaeha's father, Johnny Herrera, saying Nevaeha had fallen off a counter and was being rushed to the emergency room.
But when she got there, doctors told Casey that Nevaeha's long list of injuries were consistent with abuse. Less than 24 hours later police arrested Herrera and charged him with intentionally injuring a child while Nevaeha clung on to life at UMC.
"She had bruises everywhere. Her head was so swollen you couldn't even tell part of her skull was gone. Her face was so swollen on the right side it didn't even look like my daughter," Casey said.
While Nevaeha was on life support, horrific details about her injuries were released through an arrest warrant for Herrera; details that were hard for Casey to even fathom.
The warrant stated Herrera's other two children told police they witnessed their father shake Nevaeha's face when she cried, pick her up and drop her on the floor, pour water on Nevaeha and slide her across a dresser top until she fell off, and then punch her multiple times in the face until she stopped breathing.
"The images have gone through my head every day, and make me more upset. He's pretty much torn my family's life apart," Casey said with tears rolling down her face. "I gave him the option to sign his rights away. If he was going to do this to her why did he choose to be in her life? He could have just signed his rights over and let my fiance adopt her like we wanted."
It was touch and go for weeks. At times Casey wasn't sure if Nevaeha would make it, but she says by some miracle little Nevaeha was able to be taken off of life support and out of intensive care.
"I believe that everybody, all their prayers saved her life, and it is the reason she's doing as good as she is right now," Casey said.
But her fight is far from over. Casey says doctors told her because of the traumatic brain injury, they're not sure if Nevaeha will ever be able to see again.
"She will never be the same again; she will never be the little girl that she was," she said.
Casey says Nevaeha will be moved to the Baylor Medical Center in Dallas sometime next week for rehabilitation. Casey will go with her, leaving behind her fiance and two young step daughters in Lubbock. She says they could be in Dallas four to six months or possibly longer.
"I just want justice. I want him to be put away for life," she said about Nevaeha's father. Herrera is still behind bars on a half a million dollar bond. A little more than two weeks ago Herrera was indicted by a Lubbock Grand Jury for the charge of intentionally or knowingly injuring a child.
If you would like to help the Ketcherside family with the mounting medical expenses, a fund has been set up at any First Convenience Bank under Nevaeha's medical expense fund.
Coming up tonight at ten, you'll hear from Casey in an exclusive interview about how her life was forever changed on March 2nd.
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