The Cipriano family's amazing journey to recovery after brutal 2012 attack with baseball bat

Update on case that made national headlines

It was a case that made national headlines in 2012.

A Farmington Hills family was devastated by a deadly attack at their home.

The family's eldest son, Tucker Cipriano, with the help of his friend Mitchell Young, brutally attacked and killed Tucker's father, Robert, with a baseball bat.

Tucker's mother, Rose, and brother Sal, survived the attack but both suffered serious injuries.

Tucker and Young are serving prison sentences after Tucker pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and Young was convicted on the same charge.

Rose Cipriano broke her silence to the Local 4 Defenders and shared her son Sal’s inspiring story of healing.

“Every day when I wake up, I have to make a choice, positive or negative,” Rose said.

Rose has seven plates in her face and seven in her head. She was in a coma for two weeks after the attack and at one point, doctors didn’t think she would survive.

Roses’ son, Sal, suffered more intense injuries that left him brain damaged.

After the attack, Sal was left in a wheelchair and had a feeding tube placed. He suffered a right skull fracture, a brain injury, and the loss of hearing in his left ear.

Sal also sufferers from frequent seizures.

Although Sal cannot speak, he can communicate by typing messages that can be played on his phone.
When asked what pushes him to recover, Sal said “My main motivation was my dad, because he never complained.”

Dr. Lemmo, Sal’s doctor, said the key to recovery is in the eyes, which are an extension to the brain. Sal is currently undergoing therapy at the Dr. Lemmo Brain Centre.

“So, the eyes are a very important mechanism of humankind that is starting to be used now functionally to help identify lesions and structures that aren’t working so hot,” Lemmo said.

Repetitive exercises let Dr.Lemmo identify the problem spots in Sal’s brain.

Improvement came soon after Sal began eye exercises four times a day at home.

“He's by far the strongest patient I'll ever meet, no doubt,” Lemmo said.

Sal still has a long road ahead of him recovery wise. He continues to suffer from seizures and each seizure changes the things he is able to do.

The Ciprianos are healing, and Tanner, Sal’s twin, will be graduating from Notre Dame this weekend.

As for Tucker, who was convicted of murder and is serving a life sentence, Rose said they have contact through letters.

Sal plans on running the Cipriano Classic, which is a 5K race in June to help raise money for his family’s medical expenses because many of their treatments are not covered by insurance because they are considered alterative.

The race

The  Cipirano Classic 5K will take place Friday, June 9th at the Farmington Family YMCA located at 28100 Farmington Road.

Start time is 7 p.m. and participants are urged to register before May 26th to be guaranteed a spot.

For more information and to register for the Cipriano Classic 5K, click here,or call 248-553-4020.

For more information on Dr. Lemmo Brain Center, Click here.


About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.