DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) – Miriam Montiel and Reyes Ortega have been by their daughter’s hospital bed around the clock since she was shot last Monday on the grounds of East High School in Des Moines, Iowa.
Kemery Ortega’s will to survive isn’t without a parent’s pain. “They couldn’t get the bullet out of her head. The bullet is still there,” said Kemery’s mother Miriam Montiel.
“When I saw the incision on her head and seeing how much she struggles and how much her life changed all of a sudden, it has been heartbreaking,” said Montiel.
She said doctors gave her daughter long odds in her recovery. “Her speech was going to be affected. At least that’s what the surgeon said.”
Ortega’s mother has documented her daughter’s progress in jaw-dropping videos. Kemery is walking and talking.
“It was amazing to see her waking up, and as soon as she opened her eyes, she looked at me and she waved at me. With that strength, that’s when I felt hope in my heart,” Montiel said.
Ortega was transferred out of the Intensive Care Unit Monday, exactly one week after the shooting.
“The words [doctors] were saying is that you don’t see this happening very often and that’s why they were calling her a miracle,” said Montiel.
Kemery’s father Reyes Ortea was on his way to East High when the shooting happened.
“I felt angry, I felt anxious and desperate,” he said.
“He was about to pick her up,” said Montiel. “He was driving and was real close to the school when the patrols came and they closed the streets.”
When Kemery awoke from surgery the day after being shot, her first concerns shocked even her mother. Kemery, a senior at East High School, simply cared about graduating on time with her classmates.
One person was was killed in the shooting and another remains in critical condition. Six juveniles have been jailed for their roles in the shootings.