(CBS4) – A 3-year-old girl is making a comeback after she, her sister and their mother were found in March stranded in the bitter cold of Moffat County in northwest Colorado. The sister died and Kaylee Messerly, the mother, was arrested and tested positive for drugs.
CBS4’s Rick Sallinger recently visited with Dave Smith, the father, and his surviving girl. Her name is Alena, and it was hard to believe she was smiling during the visit after all she’s been through.
“I told her her sister died and she said ‘Sissy died.’ Another time she said ‘What’s Sissy doing?'”
In March Alena, her sister and mother were discovered in the wilderness of Moffat County. Their car was stuck in the mud near County Road 54. They spent two nights in the frigid cold suffering from severe frostbite. They were near, but did not use a heated pumphouse. Alena survived, but both of her legs had to be partially amputated. Her 1-and-a-half year old sister Emma was found without shoes, socks or a hat and was deceased.
Their mother Kaylee Messerly was located near their car. She told deputies they had been looking for rocks. She tested positive for several drugs.
Smith said, “Maybe she was just high on meth or maybe some kind of suicidal thing.”
That, he says, goes back to another incident.
“She was found and said she didn’t want to be here no more and saying stuff like that she wanted to take her kids with her.”
He says when Alena was born she had meth in her system. The sheriff’s department says human services has failed to file neglect reports. It would not comment.
But now this 3-year-old is making a comeback and is being fitted for artificial legs.
“She’s in high spirits, though. She’s doing good regular 3-year-old things other than that,” her father said.
For Smith, taking care of his daughter means he is unable to work on his construction job.
“Life’s hard now. Everything’s changed. Everything’s upside down kind of, and we were used to everything. Now everything’s going to be different for a while,” he said.
While Messerly faces charges of child abuse resulting in death, Smith fears she is not giving up the fight for custody of their daughter who survived.
CBS4 reached Messerly, who said “reporters” are telling lies and promised to call back. She did not.