EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSMother Of Child Accidentally Shot And Killed Speaks Exclusively To Eyewitness News
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Stephen DiPietrantonio
Web Producer: Mamie Buoy
Reported: Dec. 24, 2013 11:22 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 25, 2013 9:39 AM EST
Elkview , Kanawha County , West Virginia
It’s the interview you only saw on Eyewitness News, as a Charleston mom and her family, grieving the loss of their 10-year-old daughter, speak out about a life taken too soon.
Lindsay Thomas, who is Payton’s mom and Payton’s Aunt, Amanda Thomas, spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News Anchor Stefano DiPietrantonio on Christmas Eve. We were given access to Payton’s room, still set up for Christmas, with the live tree she had decorated herself, only days before.
"Payton decorated that herself,” said her Aunt Amanda. “
It's just too bad she won't be here to open up any gifts underneath it," lamented Payton’s mom Lindsay. "Trying to find peace on Christmas Eve, it's tough,” we said. “Yes, it is," Thomas agreed.
They’re calling Payton their Christmas angel and still in shock, after the 10-year-old died Monday. Deputies told us her 9-year-old friend, accidentally shot Payton with a shotgun late Sunday.
"They were kind of dating!,” said Thomas. “ And I don't blame the little boy at all."
Thomas brutally described to us, where the bullets had traveled through her daughter’s body. There was damage to her arm, lungs, chest, stomach, spleen and liver.
"All the little boy said was it was an accident. It just went off,” her mom said. “And you believe him?,” we asked. “Sure! He's a child,” said Thomas. “He shouldn't have had it by himself anyway!"
Payton was a fearless tomboy according to her mother.
"You could not put a dress on her, she would never wear a dress," said her aunt laughing.
"I have pictures of her screaming in a Winnie the Pooh dress at two years old!," joked her mom.
"She had a kind heart, just an all-around wonderful girl," said her aunt smiling.
There are peace signs and happy thoughts on the walls all over her bedroom, but the mom told us there are not enough hugs in the world to bring the family any joy this Christmas.
"Yeah, we pretty much aren't celebrating at all," said Thomas.
"I know the little boy very, very well, he's a great kid, he's a very sweet kid!," said neighbor Lynette Stumbo, who said she used to watch the two kids playing all the time.
"I know it was an accident, but I'm sure that boy is going through a lot right now," said Stumbo.
And when it comes to gun safety and locking-up weapons, Payton’s mom had this to say.
"Put a lock on it and my daughter would still be here today," she said.
A memorial fund has been set up at United Bank in Charleston. Lindsay Thomas said they are in need of donations to help the family pay for her funeral and burial expenses.
As such, funeral arrangements have not been set yet. Thomas said she would like her daughter’s glasses back. They’ve been missing since the accident. She would like the little boy, if he knows where they are, to bring them over, so they can talk about what happened.
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