A mother is pleading for justice more than a year after her 12-year-old son was killed by a case of appendicitis.
Through tears, Starr Flores told FOX5 she thinks about her son, Emmanuel Austin Mercado, every minute of every day. She added that what happened to him is unforgivable.
"He was the brightest boy. I have many children and he was the brightest boy," she said.
Emmanuel died in February 2012, after his appendix burst and destroyed his organs, according to court documents obtained by FOX5.
"Just something wasn't right," Flores said. "Something wasn't right and I don't know what - to this day I don't know what. Nobody's saying what."
Flores is getting some answers from an autopsy that she requested, and now an arrest report that charges the boy's stepmother with murder - for failing to get Emmanuel medical attention.
Metro police said Kalinda Mercado ignored repeated warnings from Emmanuel and his school nurse at Johnson Junior High.
Over the course of eight days, starting on Jan. 27, 2012, the boy showed symptoms, including stomach pain, vomiting and a fever, but Kalinda Mercado claimed it was Emmanuel's attempt to get out of class.
On Feb. 3, court documents say Emmanuel appeared "dehydrated, weak, with pale skin and blue fingertips." By the time he was taken to the hospital by Kalinda Mercado, Emmanuel was already in cardiac arrest and he died the next day.
"I held his hand, and he was really cold - and I remember praying that God wouldn't take my baby," Flores recalled.
Flores says she was kept away from her biological child for several months leading up to his death, and couldn't afford a lawyer to fight for custody.
She remembers her smart, friendly 12-year-old as one who always knew how to light up a room.
"I feel somewhat relieved, because at least I know his voice is being heard," she said.
Kalinda Mercado posted $100,000 bail and was released on house arrest. Her attorney Larry Hill told FOX5 by telephone Wednesday that he wants people to avoid jumping to conclusions before all the facts are revealed.
He added that, in his eyes, this is not a homicide case, and questions why the school did not call 911 if Emmanuel appeared to be so sick.
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Monday, July 28 2014 1:54 AM EDT2014-07-28 05:54:28 GMT
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