The story was so hard to hear. An innocent little girl, playing on the swing set in her family's backyard was struck in the head by a stray bullet that ricocheted off a pole and entered the back of her skull. The little girl walked over to her dad and collapsed, and has been in critical condition ever since.
Today, two-year-old Ariel Salaices remains in the hospital, but there is finally some good news to share.
"Late Tuesday, the mother of Ariel, Christina Salaices, told News Channel 11 doctors at East Tennessee Children's Hospital in Knoxville said Ariel has a good chance at survival.
"That came after doctors said her intracranial pressure continued to drop following surgery."
Her mom, Christine Salaices has been keeping her Facebook friends updated on little Ariel's condition ever since the tragic incident occurred on March 15th. The page is called 'Updates for Ariel.'
During the nearly three weeks since their daughter's accident, Ariel's family has experienced many ups and downs as they waited to hear if their little girl was going to recover, so this week's news was a huge blessing - and relief!
If you'll recall, two-year-old Ariel Salaices was playing on the swingset slide with her brother on March 15th when she was struck in the back of her head by a stray bullet. The little girl is in critical condition with major trauma injuries, and her parents are asking for prayers.
At the time, we reported these details provided by NBC affiliate WYCB. “[Ariel] and her brother were playing on the swing set in their backyard when Ariel 'suddenly fell off the slide, then walked to her porch and collapsed, shot in the head, apparently by a stray bullet.'"
Ariel’s mother says the bullet caused major damage to her daughter. “It severed an artery, which caused her to lose brain function. And they say she had a stroke, is what happened.”
The little girl was in critical condition and on life-support at the East Tennessee Children's Hospital in Knoxville, her aunt, Stephanie Brown, told ABC News.
Police say they have no information about who pulled the trigger or why. But Sheriff Edward Tester did have this to say:
"The person who did this couldn't have lived that far. Whether they know they did it or not. I think with all this information out there, I think they know who they are," he said.
Here is Christina's happy update:
“I have to post this, to everyone that has been praying, I just want to thank you because you are a blessing. The progression that Ariel has made in just a week is astonishing. The only thing I can say is it's all him, it's all God's work.
“The doctor came in today and said he now feels comfortable to tell the family that she's going to live and be okay. I called my sister, and she told me Ariel tried to open both eyes today. Praise the Lord”
And here's another update just posted to Facebook:
"Ariel is waking more getting her physical therapy once a day, and with us 6 times a day for range of motion. Ariel is continuing to make progress. We will try in the next few days to get her off the ventilator. Please pray she will be able to breath on her own. Thank you and look at those blue eyes!!! Praising god EVERY second."
As Ariel's mother says, the injured toddler is not out of the woods yet. She has a long recovery ahead of her and the family could use everyone's continued support and prayers.