The tragedy at a parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin has derailed Thanksgiving plans for many families who have lost loved ones in the wake of the senseless attack.
At least six people are now dead after registered sex offender Darrell Brooks Jr. crashed his red SUV through parade barricades and ran over dozens of performers and dancers that lined the busy streets.
Among those were members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies dance troupe: Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, and Tamara Durand, 52. Jane Kulich, 52, and Wilhelm Hospel, 81, were also killed in the attack.
A sixth victim also lost their life last week. Jackson Sparks, 8, passed away on Tuesday after undergoing brain surgery on Sunday. Sparks had been marching alongside his brother Tucker, 12, who was also hospitalized for road rash and a fractured skull. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family.
11-Year-Old Girl Clings To Life On Ventilator
Another young child is struggling to survive in wake of the heartbreaking tragedy. Jessalyn Torres, 11, was just one of nine children who were injured when the attack took place on Sunday, November 21.
Many of the children are being treated at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital, which revealed that four children, including Torres, are still in critical condition. Three are in fair condition, while two are in good condition.
Her mother, Amber Kohnke, told the New York Post that her daughter spent Thanksgiving unconscious in a hospital bed, breathing only through the support of a ventilator.
“No mother should ever go through this. This is a very traumatic ordeal,” she said. “The hardest part was not being with everyone and Jessalyn, in the condition she is, was not able to be with her family either.”
Kohnke has been using Facebook to keep family and friends updated with Jessalyn’s progress. So far, she remains optimistic.
“Let me say this again… she’s a fighter!” Kohnke wrote in one post. “I sat there and held her hand, kissed her head, and just watched and cried and told her I was so proud of her.”
Torres Begged Hospital Staff To ‘Glue Her Together’
Torres attended the parade with her mother and two-year-old sister, Averie. She was performing with the Waukesha Xtreme Dance group when she was struck by the red SUV.
She was admitted to the hospital with a “broken pelvis, a lost kidney, lacerations on her lungs and remaining kidney, and internal bleeding.”
According to her uncle, Torres allegedly told her mother to tell the doctors to “just glue me back together.” Torres was intubated to help “make her more stable” as “she doesn’t really understand what happened.”
A GoFundMe page has also been set up for the family. As of Saturday, November 27, they are a few thousand dollars short of their $65,000 dollar goal to cover the medical costs relating to their daughter’s treatment.
A GoFundMe page was also created to provide bail for the main suspect in the attack, Brooks. GoFundMe removed the page before any funds could be collected, saying that the campaign violated its terms of service.
The GoFundMe site prohibits “raising money for the legal defense of an alleged violent crime.”