On November 29, Izabella-Marie Helem, 4, and her younger brother, Isaiah Helem, 3, were put in their grandmother’s care while their parents were away at work.
But around 10 a.m., tragedy stuck when Isiah found an “easily accessible” handgun inside the home, the Indianapolis Star reports.
The toddler picked up the unsecured weapon and fired it, hitting his older sister in the head. Izabella was hospitalized for several days but tragically lost her life on Tuesday.
Their parents, Briana ‘Bre’ and Alonzo Helem, are devastated by the loss.
Though it’s unclear why the gun was accessible to the toddler, the parents insist that the grandmother is not to blame.
Bre told Indianapolis star:
“The national news has called my mother reckless and careless. They are blaming her for our daughter’s death. Other sources have portrayed us as irresponsible parents. I would like people to know a few things about our family.”
The children’s mother continued:
“My mom is not a bad person, she is not reckless or careless. She loves our kids so much. This is devastating for her also. Our son is 3 years old. We are working to provide him with counseling. We need to help find a way for him to heal. This is a tragedy for some people, but it is our worst nightmare as parents. We love all our children.”
Bre said that she’s thankful first responders did what they could to help her daughter, which allowed them to have a few days to say goodbye to their little girl.
When she passed away, the family decided to donate her organs in order to help other families. Bre said:
“Izzy is donating her organs to eight children. And while her body is no longer with us, her spirit will live on. She is no longer suffering and she has created miracles for other families. No family should ever feel the pain of losing a child.”
As of now, the grandmother is not facing any criminal charges. A GoFundMe has been started to raise money for the Helem family.
According to the Firearms Industry Trade Association, guns should always be kept unloaded when they aren’t in use.