It’s been just over a year since a 12-year-old girl was attacked while walking to her school bus stop in West Fort Worth. The community stepped up with patrols to protect other children and search for the attacker. He’s now behind bars, and for the first time, the girl is speaking out about what happened to her, and her long road to recovery.
Dorika Uwimana does her best to live in the moment.
"To forget about it," she said.
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To forget about the day in April of last year when a stranger attacked her out of nowhere, while she was walking to her school bus.
"When I see him, I was scared," Dorika said. "I think who is that man?"
Police say 35-year-old Terry Wayne King lured Dorika over by asking her for help, then knocked her to the ground and started choking her. The bus pulled up just in time to scare him away and Dorika stumbled on board.
"The children said what happened to you?" Dorika said.
Dorika would spend the next five months in the hospital.
"The heart was not working, the lungs was not working, everything was not working," said her father Twizere Buhinja.
It was so bad, she needed a heart transplant. Then earlier this year, her body started rejecting the new heart. Now, Dorika takes medication three times a day to keep the transplant working.
"Forever, for the rest of her life," Buhinja said.
It's a lot to take for a family that came to the U.S. as refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, seeking a safer life.
"But here too I get into some problem,” Buhinja said. “He attack my daughter."
Dorika's father is looking forward to facing her attacker in court.
"I need to see face to face and sometime I'm going to ask some questions about my daughter," said Buhinja.
He doesn't understand why this happened to her. But he's grateful for the support that kept her alive, and kept his family going.
"The school helped, the hospital, the police, everybody," Buhinja said.
Just like Dorika's new heart, the family's transplant into a new country is now stronger than ever.
"The problem start and after that you take the good future," said Buhinja.
King is set to go to trial this July in Tarrant County.