Alexis Salaz has not been in this world for two years yet but has endured more suffering than most go through in a lifetime. The little girl has miraculously survived a lifetime of torture, and is now recovering even after being declared brain dead.
Samantha Salaz, 19, is Alexis' mother and has pleaded guilty to child abuse; she is currently serving a 24-year prison sentence. According to court testimony, Samantha and her aunt, Mary Horsley, 50, bound Alexis with duct tape and put her under a running shower.
Evidence proved that Alexis was bound at the wrists, ankles, back and mouth; she also had bruises on her legs, arms, face, and forehead. Horsley had a history of putting Alexis in a running shower as a punishment. Alexis' older brother, 7-year-old Brandon, testified in court that he noticed Alexis had stopped making sounds during her latest punishment.
He went to the bathroom and found Alexis lying down in the shower. "That's why I had to poke her, to see if she was alive or not," Brandon told the court. Then he proceeded to alert his mother and great-aunt who were both sleeping.
"Lexie could talk but now she can't," he told them. "She is a different color; something is wrong."
When Samantha awakened, she called 911 and paramedics quickly responded. They found the little girl unconscious and pronounced her brain dead at the hospital. Doctors continued life-saving efforts and managed to bring Alexis back to life. Now she is doing much better and is living with her father, who never knew she existed until the trial.
Samantha admitted to telling Joseph Saunders, Alexis' father, that she had suffered a miscarriage. He has since taken custody of his daughter and told reporters in an email that Alexis was greatly improving. "Within months of living with my wife, our kids and I, she has started regaining some physical activity and it seems as if her brain started 'turning on.'"
Horsley will face trial next month for her part in the abuse, which, according to District Attorney Debbie Pearson, was unrelenting. "If she moved, she was dunked. If she cried, she was dunked. Alexis never had a break. It was constant, constant torture," she told the court in pre-trial testaments.
The other children also suffered abuse at their relatives' hands. Brandon and an unnamed sister also testified about their experiences. They have since been removed from the home and placed with foster families.