Bangor toddler paralyzed by gunshot to neck, mother says

Danielle Ashley Ogden talks about the health of her daughter who suffered a gunshot wound to the neck last month at their Bald Mountain Drive residence in Bangor.
Brian Feulner | BDN
Danielle Ashley Ogden talks about the health of her daughter who suffered a gunshot wound to the neck last month at their Bald Mountain Drive residence in Bangor. Buy Photo
By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 29, 2013, at 10:39 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The 3-year-old girl who was shot in the neck at her Bald Mountain Drive residence nearly a month ago was paralyzed by the bullet, her mother Danielle Ogden said Wednesday.

“She’s doing good,” Ogden said, sitting at a nurse’s break table on the eighth floor of Eastern Maine Medical Center where her daughter, Natalia Ogden, is being treated for the gunshot wound to the left side of her neck. “She will be paralyzed, but we’re not sure to what extent.”

The bullet “nicked the spinal cord,” she said.

Police are still investigating how the weapon discharged, injuring the toddler, according to Bangor police Sgt. Cathy Rumsey. Officers responded to reports of the shooting at 54 Bald Mountain Drive at about 4:40 p.m. Oct. 30 and found the injured child with her father, Brandon Ogden, and two older siblings. Her mother was at work.

Ogden said she could not talk about what happened to her daughter, who is nicknamed Talia, but she did say the gun used “is ours” and the discharge “was clearly accidental.”

“He saw a lot more than I did … I feel really bad for him,” she said of her husband, who had to deal with the aftermath of his daughter’s injury.

He has been advised by his lawyer not to comment, his wife said as her husband talked to her on her cellphone and declined a request to provide details about what happened.

After Natalia was injured, Ogden said she called her parents, Joline and Wayne Scovil of Carmel, and asked them to care for her two older children, a sister and brother, so she could stay at the hospital.

Her daughter was treated in the intensive care unit for several days but has since been moved to the pediatric floor. Because of her paralysis, a tracheotomy was performed to help her breathe and a feeding tube was put into place to help provide her with nourishment.

“She’s not [in life-threatening condition] anymore,” Danielle Ogden said. “She has a trach put in with a ventilator, but we are taking it off for 15 minutes a day.”

As her breathing gets stronger, her use of the ventilator will decrease, she said.

“Currently, she can smile. She can say words — they are very airy — but she can speak,” her mother said. “She’d had popsicles, Jello and juices so far and we have been giving her water on a sponge. She’s swallowing it well.”

Natalia has a speech therapist, respiratory specialist, physical therapist and several doctors and nurses working with her, but with her injury, doctors are predicting her daughter will leave the hospital in a wheelchair. EMMC staff put paper snowflakes up in her room the night it snowed, Ogden said.

“We’re praying for a better outcome,” she said, noting Natalia may be released from the hospital in January if all goes well.

Police are still looking into how the child was injured by the handgun, so are releasing few details, including what type of weapon was involved.

“The case is still under investigation,” Rumsey said Tuesday. “No charges have been filed.”

The Scovils declined an interview, but confirmed to the Bangor Daily News they gave permission for family friend Kathy Picken, also of Carmel, to speak about their granddaughter.

Picken organized a benefit spaghetti dinner-auction to benefit the Scovils, who are already modifying their home by adding wheelchair ramps for Natalia.

People and local businesses are providing auction items or donations of food for the dinner, scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Saturday at Calvary Chapel in Orrington. Entry is by donation. Angelo’s is providing the sauce and spaghetti, the Brick Oven in Bangor and Donna’s Daily Bread in Levant are providing the bread.

“It’s amazing,” Picken said of the generosity. “At this point, we’ve got 45 silent auction items and 11 live action items.”

The fundraiser has upset Danielle Ogden, she said, because it originally listed her daughter’s name as the recipient. Originally she planned to go, but has since changed her mind.

“The benefit is not going to Natalia like it says it does,” she said.

Picken said she changed the benefit recipient because if she put it in Natalia’s name, she would have needed to create a trust for the money. She decided to put it in the name of the girl’s grandparents to make it easier to access.

“I put this in Joline and Wayne’s name because a tragedy happened to their family — It’s pay-it-forward time,” Picken said. “It’s very heartbreaking.”

Danielle Ogden said she is focusing all of her energy on helping her daughter heal, and she is seeing improvements.

After a month, “she is getting back to her old self,” Natalia’s mom said. “She is saying, ‘No.’ She’s showing us her strength.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/11/29/news/bangor/bangor-toddler-paralyzed-by-gunshot-to-neck-mother-says/ printed on September 23, 2014