DETROIT – Heartbreaking photos are being shared of a 9-year-old girl who was fatally attacked by a pack of dogs Monday night in Southwest Detroit.
Emma Hernandez was playing in an alleyway near Central Avenue and Smart Street when she was attacked by the animals. Investigators say the three pit bull dogs escaped from a yard nearby. Two people nearby saw the attack and rushed to save the girl.
- The dogs have been captured by Animal Control.
- The owner of the dogs, a 33-year-old man, is in police custody.
"I saw three dogs on top of a little girl," said Edward Cruz. "So I had no hesitation but to run up there, pick up a brick and throw it at the dogs."
All of the dogs, including one that was shot, are being held and quarantined at Detroit Animal Control. The owner of the dogs, a 33-year-old man, is in police custody.
An ambulance rushed Emma to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.
"It's hard for me not to cry," said Cpt. Russell Solano, of the Detroit Police Department. "It's tough, real tough. We're talking about a 9-year-old girl who was just out there playing, and now she's not here."
Family left devastated
Emma's aunt, Claudia Stapleton, spoke on behalf of the family on Tuesday.
"Horrible, very, very devastating for us and the family," she said. "She was a very happy child and she is gonna be very, very missed. It's just something that shouldn't have happened. They should have been more careful with their dogs."
The dogs apparently slipped between two ramshackle fences.
"This was her neighborhood. She should be able to play and do what every kid does -- walk around, ride their bikes. They shouldn't be afraid to be in their own neighborhood," said Stapleton.
Emma's father, Armando, was too broken up to speak with Local 4 on Tuesday. Stapleton said the family is doing all that they can to cope with this loss.
"We're having such a hard time. We're relying on prayer and family support to get us through right now," she said.
Donations for family
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the grieving family, along with this message from the family:
Our beloved Emma Valentina Hernandez recently passed on August 19, 2019. Emma was a wonderful child who touched the lives of those around her. She leaves behind a family that loves her immensely.
Emma dedicated her life to school work, playing and enjoying life with her family. Quick to get a head start on school work. She was such a smart and silly girl. Loved to be outdoors and play with her cousins. A beautiful soul inside and out.
We are all devastated by Emma’s loss and were not prepared for the high cost of a funeral service. We want to give Emma the memorial she deserves, to honor her memory and say our last goodbyes.
I am currently asking for donations to help cover the cost of Emma’s funeral.
Here is a link to the fundraiser for Emma. Please consider donating, as any amount will truly help our family during this difficult time.
Thank you so much and have a wonderful day.
The Hernandez Family.
Nuestra querida Emma Valentina Hernández falleció recientemente el 19 de agosto de 2019. Emma fue una niña maravillosa que tocó la vida de quienes la rodeaban. Ella deja atrás una familia que la ama inmensamente.
Emma dedicó su vida al trabajo escolar, jugando y disfrutando la vida con su familia. Ella era una chica tan inteligente y feliz. Le encantaba estar al aire libre y jugar con sus primos. Un alma hermosa por dentro y por fuera.
Todos estamos devastados por la pérdida de Emma y no estábamos preparados para el alto costo de un funeral. Queremos darle a Emma el monumento que merece, para honrar su memoria y decirle nuestras últimas despedidas.
Actualmente estoy solicitando donaciones para ayudar a cubrir el costo del funeral de Emma.
Aquí hay un enlace a la recaudación de fondos para Emma. Considere donar, ya que cualquier cantidad realmente ayudará a nuestra familia durante este momento difícil.
Muchas gracias y que tenga un día maravilloso.
La familia hernandez