Doctor calls recovery of child shot during mother's February murder-suicide 'inspiring to see'

DENVER - A rehabilitation doctor says the three-year-old survivor of her mother's murder suicide is "inspiring to see."

Isabel Perez awoke from a coma on Feb. 11, five days after she was shot.

"She did have a very severe gunshot wound to the brain and I'm very impressed with the fact that she got here alive. Credit for that goes to the paramedics," Dr. Ken Winston, a pediatric neurosurgeon, said at that time.

Wednesday, her rehabilitation physician, Dr. Michael Dichiaro, elaborated on the nature of the injury. He said the bullet passed from left to right through the frontal lobe and also injured arteries in the brain.

As a result, the doctor said, the little girl had deficits using her left side and lower extremities.

"She was relatively, we would say, low-level in terms of her recovery," Dichiaro said about when Isabel was first transferred to rehabilitation.

Since that time, "she's shown us amazing things," he said.

"She's improved tremendously from that first time that I saw her in the hospital," family friend Doricel Aragon said.

"There are no limits to how well kids can recover. Even kids like Bella who have had very traumatic and dramatic things happen to them can make amazing recoveries," Dichiaro said. "It's very inspiring to see."

Aragon says that Isabel's grandmother has been a fixture of the little girl's recovery in the hospital.

"The love that her grandmother has given her and shown her, I think, has really helped Bella improve," she said.

Now, the little girl still needs a little help to get to her feet, but is able to walk with the help of a therapist and walker. She is also talking and using words.

The next goals for Isabel's recovery, according to Dichiaro, are helping to feed herself and helping to get herself dressed.

Even after she leaves the intensive recovery program, her doctor says growth and recovery will continue.

"She is definitely a kid who is going to go to school and have friends," Dichiaro said.

Denver Police confirmed that Isabel's mother, 23-year-old Mayra Nunez, shot her three children and then herself on February 6. A 4-year-old daughter, Navaeh Morales, and an almost 2-year-old son, Eric Perez, died.

The autopsies found that Navaeh had been shot "multiple" times, while Eric and Mayra died of a single gunshot wound.

"What's done is done. God will be the judge of her," said Tony Nunez, the mother's brother.

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