Zaydanielys Rodriguez Irizarry's father moved his family to the United States to seek a better life, with better schools, for his children. The family settled in Heber City, Utah and the children's father, Daniel Rodriguez, says that his children began to thrive and that they were happy. Sadly, Rodriguez won't get to see that American dream come true for his little girl.
KSL TV reports that around 10:30 p.m. Friday July 9th, Rodriguez said his 6-year-old son called him over video chat, asking for help. The boy described waking up to a loud sound and his sister crying.
“She was asking for help, she was coughing blood on the floor,” said Rodriguez. “I told my boss I needed to leave because my daughter was bleeding from her mouth. That’s all I knew.”
Rodriguez and his girlfriend work nights. The children were already in bed and their babysitter was in another room.
He initially thought his daughter got hurt falling off the bed, but she was unresponsive when he got home shortly after.
“But she was moving her stomach as though she was breathing, so I took off to the hospital,” said Rodriguez.
Deputies said the frantic father called 911 on his way to the hospital, but his little girl did not survive.
“They did everything they could, but they told me where the bullet hit her, there was nothing they could do,” said Rodriguez.
Here's what happened. Next door to Rodriguez's apartment their neighbor, Trever Joe Pinter, was having a loud drunken party with his friends Colin David Howells, 36, and 34-year-old Christopher Robert O’Connell. Two women who were also in the apartment said that Howells and O'Connell sexually assaulted them then, O'Connell pulled out a gun. One of the women reportedly said O’Connell was “incredibly intoxicated.” He waved the gun around drunkenly and the women begged him to please put it away. He didn't.
O'Connell fired a shot that went through the apartment wall and that bullet struck little Zaydanielys while she slept.
Originally accused of manslaughter, O'Connell's charge was upgraded to murder, a first-degree felony. Including the murder charge, O'Connell also faces new charges of felony discharge of a firearm, purchase/transfer/possession/use of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and sexual battery.
Pinter, 21, was arrested Saturday for investigation of obstruction of justice after police say he initially provided them with deceptive information, but no charges had been filed against him as of midday Tuesday.
Colin David Howells, of Heber City, was charged with obstructing justice, a third-degree felony; sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor; and intoxication, a class C misdemeanor, in the same case.
Zaydanielys' father has organized a GoFundMe account in order to have his beloved daughter laid to rest back home in Puerto Rico. He was asking for only $10,000 but, through the kindness of others, the campaign has reached well over $50,000.
This is truly heartbreaking.