SPOKANE, Wash. - In 2008, three-year-old Kyra Wine became the victim of the worst case of child abuse in Benewah County history, her injuries so severe doctor's amputated her feet. Now, five years later, she's an active, happy eight-year-old girl.
The abuse Kyra and her sister Amanda endured is heartbreaking and unimaginable but now they are thriving.
"Every birthday, yeah, every birthday is special," Kyra's grandma, Deanna Wine said.
For her eighth birthday, Kyra didn't ask for anything special.
"I just let them get whatever they want," Kyra said.
Making the gifts on her grandma's kitchen table an even bigger surprise; a birthday is always a big deal when you're a kid, but when you're Kyra, each candle carries more than a wish. They're a symbol of survival, a light of hope.
"When this all happened with Kyra the doctors said that basically she had hours," Deanna said. "If she hadn't been taken to the hospital she had just hours to live."Kyra's Story
On June 17, 2008 Benewah County Sheriff's deputies responded to a home for a welfare check on Kyra, then three-years-old, and her six-year-old sister Amanda. They couldn't have found them any sooner.
For three weeks the girls endured horrific child abuse at the hands of their mom, Christina Haynes and her boyfriend, Charles Smith.
Kyra was rushed to the local hospital and then airlifted to Spokane.
"I knew that she recognized me because we have a special thing that we always do, I just kind of go smooch and she actually recognized me and went smooch back," Deanna said.
Deanna is head of the ambulance service in St. Maries, an EMT for decades. She's seen it all. And then she saw her granddaughter's injuries.
"I have no words, what it was like, no words," she said.
Dehydrated, malnourished, fading in and out of consciousness, doctors frantically worked to save Kyra's life.
"It was either save her kidney or save her life and they opted for her to have an 8th birthday," Deanna said.
With one of her kidneys removed the focus shifted to her feet, which suffered the most trauma.
"When I saw her feet I knew what was going to happen," Deanna said.
At just three-years-old Kyra suddenly became a double amputee.
Kyra and her sister Amanda have yet to reveal all the details of the abuse.
"I know some things, but some things we'll probably never know," Deanna said.
A year after Kyra and Amanda were rescued, their mom, Christina Haynes pleaded guilty to the abuse and was sentenced to five years in prison. She could be eligible for parole next year.
Haynes' boyfriend, Charles Smith, who she met online, pleaded guilty too. He is now serving 10 years in prison, the maximum time allowed for felony child abuse in Idaho.
Deanna Wine thinks 10 years isn't nearly enough time for Smith to spend in prison, but even so there's no time to dwell. Instead Deanna and her husband focus on Kyra's recovery.
Kyra spent exactly three months in the hospital. Don Christenson, Kyra's prosthetist with the Hanger Clinic, was there too.
"I couldn't talk to her, she couldn't look at me. I could see her amputations, they unwrapped and showed what she had. But she wanted no part of me or anybody else, any other men," he explained.
Over time she slowly warmed up to Christenson and to her new feet. Over the past five years he has created six pairs of prosthetics for Kyra.
She's like family now, with her picture greeting guests as they check in for their appointments.
"She's just gaining confidence with me, we've got along really well. She loves to go into back and see what we make," Christenson said.
On this visit she's getting her summer feet, in her favorite color. The flat bottom makes it easier to play soccer, a game she loves.
She's fast and focused. Her sister Amanda is too.
"I can kick the ball far and I like kicking and I like basketball," she said.
She has the pictures to prove it, dribbling alongside everyone else on her team.
"That doesn't stop here," Deanna said. "If she wants to climb a tree, she'll climb a tree, and if she wants to ride a bike, she'll ride a bike and swim and play soccer and basketball. I don't see any limitations if Kyra wants to do it," Deanna said.
Kyra's now in the second grade and has a knack for math.
"One thing I can say about Kyra, she is very strong willed, on just pretty much everything, and so I think that is her spirit and her determination and her stubbornness and her strong will is actually probably what saved her," Deanna said.
And it's what will keep her living a full life full of cake and a lot more birthday candles.
"And we'll sing and embarrass her," Deanna said.
"She's just amazing," Don Christenson said.
Kyra and her sister have been in counseling to help in their recovery. Kyra will need one more surgery on top of her head to help repair the scalp. She lost quite a bit of hair due to the abuse.
The children are living with their grandparents, and have been with them since the day the abuse was discovered. The family wanted to thank everyone for their support over the last five years; Deanna Wine said our community has earned the right to know how Kyra and Amanda are doing because of the support these two remarkable girls have gotten over the years.
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