A US lesbian teen who was shot in the head has made a miraculous recovery in the year since the brutal attack that claimed her girlfriend’s life.
Kristene Chapa, 19, (pictured left) is still struggling with what happened to her on 23 June last year in a Texas public park.
They were found nearly nine hours after being shot.
No arrests have yet been made, a fact that still tortures Chapa in the middle of the night.
‘There are still times where I find myself scared, wondering if they’re going to come after me,’ she told NBC News. ‘I’m always looking around, seeing if I recognize anyone.’
Chapa is still grieving for her lost love, and regrets they fought that night. Olgin wanted to meet her parents, but at the time, Chapa was not out to her family.
Her parents learned about her sexuality after police informed them of the attack, and said their daughter had been with her girlfriend.
‘Every day I think about her,’ Chapa said. ‘I pray for her, just for her to watch over me.’
Portland police, who are investigating into the attack, do not believe the attack was a hate crime but have not established a motive.
Authorities tested DNA samples and fingerprints from a large area, and came up with 250 names before they honed in on one man.
He is currently incarcerated in another state.
Chapa has spent months relearning some of the most basic functions, such as balancing, speaking without a stutter, making facial expressions, sitting, standing and walking.
‘I went from being independent to back to a toddler,’ she said, whose left hand is permanently in a fist.
Nearly four months in rehabilitation, she took her first steps in Austin Rehabilitation Center. She can now walk, but has a limp.
Doctor Osbert Blow, the medical director of trauma and surgical critical care services, says Chapa has made a ‘miraculous’ recovery.
‘She is behaving like someone who had a [left-sided] stroke,’ he noted.
‘I feel like I proved a lot of people wrong,’ Chapa said, ‘The doctors who didn't think I was going to make it and the guy who tried to kill me.’