Family of beaten toddler fights for tougher child abuse laws

Family of beaten toddler fights for tougher child abuse laws


by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

Kilah's Law' would increase NC abuse penalties

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 8 at 8:04 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kirbi Davenport tries so hard to quiet her daughter.

“It’s OK, I got you, I got you,” she says, putting her arms around Kilah.

But the three-year-old continues to groan.

“We’re just fussy it happens. There’s not much can soothe her other than just laying down and holding her,” Kirbi said.

Life is not easy for Kirbi or Kilah.

“Nobody sees the tough part of Kilah’s life, this is a little bit of it," Kirbi said. "She struggles to do the easiest task that she used to be able to do."

That's the hardest part. Just last year Kilah  was happy, thriving, walking, talking.

“The little Kilah before this happened was headstrong, it was her way or no way.”

Until she suffered brain damage. Police say her stepfather threw her against a wall last May.

Doctors first thought she wouldn't survive the night -- then told her mother she would be in a permanent vegetative state.

“Every day that she takes a step or she rolls, or says a word, just her being here she’s already defying everything anybody ever said about her.”

Kilah just started talking again. She said a few words which were really impressed  her family.

 And Kirbi expects much more.

“What do I expect? She’s going to be back to normal, it’s gonna take time, were only nine months out.”

Her daughters fight has moved so many -- including Congressman Robert Pittenger.

“It really moves you when you go out and meet with the family and see the state this child will be in for the rest of her life,” he said.

He's now working on federal legislation to increase the penalties for felony child abuse.

If convicted, Kilah's stepfather faces four to eight years.

Kirbi said, 'four to eight years? No, that’s not right at all.”

Not right she says, when her daughters been handed a life sentence.

There is also state legislation in the works right now. Kilah's law would increase penalties on the state level.

That bill was introduced last month and is in the committee stage.