Isabel Perez, nicknamed Bella, has beaten tremendous odds simply by being alive.
Back in February, she was shot by Mayra Nunez, her mom, in a burst of violence that ended the lives of her siblings, Nivek and Eric. Nunez later took her own life, and Bella wasn't expected to survive.
Somehow she did, however, and this week, her family invited the media to marvel at her progress. See photos and videos below.
At the time of our original post, Tony Nunez, Mayra's brother, said that Mayra and her husband Ricky Perez, "were having a little argument" on the evening of Tuesday, February 5. As we've reported, the fight was apparently serious enough that Perez decided to spend the night at a friend's place rather than his own -- something he relayed to Tony in a phone call.
After the spat, Tony called his sister to check on her. "I told her, 'You want me to go get you?'" he said at the time. Her reply, he said, was "No, no, we're fine. Just a married couple thing."
At some point afterward, however, it became infinitely more than that.
At around 7 a.m. the next morning, Ricky returned to his home, near East 49th Avenue and Pearl Street in Globeville -- and the scene he found was described as "horrific." He subsequently phoned Tony and conveyed what had taken place in four simple, straight-forward, earth-shattering words: "She shot the kids."
The emotions this discovery unleashed are conveyed in police recordings obtained by the station.
"A father is hysterical, crying, but he says the two-year-old is still breathing," a dispatcher was quoted as saying. "[It] sounds like it's a mom that shot a couple of her kids and possibly herself. Police are pulling up on scene now."
Nivek and Eric were reportedly already dead by the time help arrived. But, the dispatcher later noted, "One child is crying and breathing. Possibly shot in the head."
The family had been in Colorado for a couple of years, having relocated from El Paso, Texas. As for the weapon that took three lives, Tony noted that they kept a handgun in their home for "protection."
Unfortunately, the gun didn't protect Nivek and Eric -- or Bella, either. But she managed to get through the critical days immediately following the shooting and eventually was transferred from Denver Health to Children's Hospital. There, as noted in stories from 9News, 7News and Fox31, she went from being unable to walk or talk to moving around well and speaking when the spirit strikes her.
With luck, she'll continue to improve in new environs. She was slated to be released from Children's yesterday in order to move to New Mexico, where she'll be under the care of her grandmother. While she may not be able to entirely leave behind the trauma and the losses she's suffered, we hope her future will turn out to be infinitely more positive than one horrific part of her past.
Look below to see the 9News piece about Bella's recovery, followed by three videos from 7News from the time of the crime -- raw footage of Denver Police Chief Robert White's first conversations with reporters at the scene, plus another pair of reports sharing information about Mayra Nunez and her desperate final acts.
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More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Mayra Nunez allegedly kills two of her kids, wounds third, then commits suicide (60-61)."