Four days ago, Michael Brewer Jr. was celebrating his 15th birthday with his family, a happy teenager doing back flips in the swimming pool.
On Wednesday, the slight, blonde-haired teenager was heavily bandaged in intensive care at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Burn Center, suffering from burns on 65 percent of his body. Gone were his eyebrows and eyelashes, along with most of the hair on the right side of his head. If he survives, his recovery will take months, say doctors.
The Deerfield Beach seventh-grader was burned by five schoolmates who attacked him during a squabble over a video game and a bicycle, according to authorities.
The only one to confess and show remorse for the act was the boy who set fire to Brewer, Jesus Mendez, 15, authorities said. He allegedly told a Broward Sheriff's Office deputy he made ``a bad decision'' and just wanted to see what would happen.
His sister, Malissa Durkee, said Wednesday the one encouraging sign is that he opens his eyes every time he hears his mother's voice.
``It's a sign of, `I'm a survivor' -- saying, `Mom, I'm gonna make it through this and I'm gonna be back and I'm gonna be the Michael that I am,' '' she said.
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