Whatever happened to ... Shooting victim growing up unaware

Whatever happened to ... Shooting victim growing up unaware

April 21st, 2013 by Beth Burger in Local Regional News

Keoshia Ford rests in a specially made chair in this 20102 file photo. In background are her sisters, Kayneshia Jones, 11, and Keria Matthews, 4, and mother, LeKeshia Matthews.

Photo by Staff File Photo/Times Free Press.

Question: Whatever happened to Keoshia Ford?

Answer: Keoshia Ford's limbs continue to lengthen. Like most teenagers, she's adding pounds as she comes into adulthood.

"She looks real good," said Ford's mother, LeKeshia Matthews.

But Keoshia, 14, is mostly confined to a hospital bed or wheelchair after she was shot in the head when gang members exchanged shots near a block party in March 2012.

"It is [heartbreaking]," said Matthews, who envisioned her daughter growing into womanhood on much different terms.

Keoshia can't speak. Her eyes stare off in a faraway gaze. A nurse is by her side 24 hours a day and adheres to a strict schedule. Her tracheotomy tube must be changed. Diapers and clothing must be changed.

Supplies are holding up well for the family after an outpouring of donations from the community, Matthews said.

She tries to take Keoshia to parks and get her outside in the fresh air. The trips take effort.

More than a year later, she still mourns the spirited girl who loved trying out for sports and enjoyed playing basketball. She'll never be the same.

But Matthews puts on a brave smile.

"I kind of keep it inside. I don't want anyone to know I feel that way," she said. "I smile a lot. It hurts, though."

This update was written by staff writer Beth Burger. Contact her at bburger@timesfreepress.com or 423-987-0289. To suggest a topic for "Whatever happened to," email news@timesfreepress.com.