A funeral will be held this Saturday for a 4-year-old Indiana girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 3-year-old brother while both were visiting their grandmother.
The shooting happened on Nov. 29 in Lebanon, Indiana.
The victim, Izabella Marie Helem, was taken off of life support on Tuesday. Her parents decided to donate the little girl’s organs, according to authorities, which will help eight children.
Her 3-year-old brother, Isaiah, got his hands on an unsecured firearm in their grandmother’s home and pulled the trigger shortly before 10 a.m.
Police continue to investigate, and prosecutors have yet to decide whether they will pursue charges.
The children’s parents were working at the time of the incident, according to The Lebanon Reporter.
Izabella’s mother Briana Helem — an active member of the United States Army, out of town on assignment — spoke to the paper, saying it would be misguided to blame her mother for the accidental shooting.
“The national news has called my mother reckless and careless,” Helem told the paper. “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. My mom is not a bad person, she is not reckless or careless.”
Helem added: “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.”
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The grieving mother called her daughter a “leader,” noting that Izabella “loved to tell” her parents “what to do and how to do it. She played with everyone and was so smart. She could count to 40, spell and write her name. She loved old-school music. She was always learning and sharing what she learned. She asked hundreds of questions every day.”
Izabella turned 4 on Nov. 10.
“Izzy was full of energy, you could not be in a bad mood around her,” Helem said. “She wouldn’t allow for it. She is a beacon of light for our family. She came out ready to change the world. She is intelligent and thoughtful, she was always creating things. Coloring beautiful pictures, building stuff. She is special.”
A GoFundMe page has been launched to help cover costs associated with Izabella’s impending funeral.