SUNBURY — Arabella Parker has made significant improvements but continues to fight for her life a family spokesperson said Saturday.
Sarah Delcamp, the aunt of Parker, told The Daily Item on Saturday the 3-year-old has made huge strides over the last 10 days. Delcamp said doctors have removed various medical devices and the child began to respond. Geisinger Medical Center, in Danville, still has Parker listed in critical condition.
"She has color, she is moving around and she is determined," Delcamp said. "It's still a long road for her and she is still in critical condition but she is a million times better than she was last week."
Parker was admitted on Oct. 10 after state police said 19-year old Jahrid Burgess, of Trevorton, beat the child so badly she had to have part of her brain removed.
Delcamp said the family remains hopeful for a miracle of a partial recovery but Delcamp said she is just thankful her niece is still alive.
"It is still too early to tell anything and the doctors have been wonderful," Delcamp said. "Arabella gets mad when they move her breathing machine around and that is a good sign that she is starting to know what is happening. She is starting to look like Arabella again."
Delcamp said doctors removed monitoring machines and even let Parker breath on her own for small amounts of time.
"There is just so much left to determine in this," Delcamp said. "She can breath for small amounts of time and then starts to struggle but again this is a huge improvement from a week ago."
Delcamp said doctors are saying they have no way of knowing the extent of any permanent injuries at this time.
"We are just thankful for the support we are getting," Delcamp said. "There are a lot of people blaming the whole family for this and this is just not the case. Right now, we are focused on Arabella and we are continuing to stay with her around the clock."
Delcamp said doctors are talking about moving Parker to a children's hospital outside the Valley but Delcamp said the hospital choice is not yet determined.
"No matter where they send her, we will be with her," Delcamp said.
Burgess is locked up at the Northumberland County Jail in lieu of $200,000 cash bail after he was arraigned before Shamokin District Judge John Gembic last week.
Burgess was set to appear for a preliminary arraignment before Gembic on Tuesday but the judge canceled the hearing due to safety concerns. A new hearing is set for Friday inside the Northumberland County Courthouse at 9:30 a.m.
Gembic said the public outcry led him to move any hearings to the Northumberland County Courthouse, instead of his small Shamokin office.
Burgess, who is currently facing aggravated assault charges for the alleged attack on the child, is also facing criminal charges of aggravated assault for beating the child's mother, Samantha Delcamp.
Burgess denied striking the child and said there was "more to this story" but District Attorney Tony Matulewicz disagreed.
At the arraignment last Saturday, Matulewicz said he was prepared to go to court on all charges and that Parker’s case was the worst he had ever seen.
Matulewicz said he could not comment on any aspects of the case but that he would present evidence in court.