Deerfield Beach, FL—
On Wednesday April 14th, Josie Lou Ratley, a middle school girl who had been in a coma for nearly a month regained consciousness of the being severely beaten by a high school student. Unfortunately, the excitement of her regaining consciousness was short lived as doctors worst fears began to be realized.
According to the Ratley's attorney, “The area of the brain that has been most damaged is to the area that includes the ability to communicate. Josie cannot speak, Josie cannot walk and Josie has limited function in her right arm, right hand and right fingers… She will require extensive and long-term rehabilitative care, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy.”
On March 17th, Wayne Tracey, the 15 year old who has been identified as the attacker, ran up behind Josie immediately following the 3 pm release of classes at Deerfield Middle School. Tracey immediately punched her in the face which knocked her to the ground where witnesses have said she appeared to be unconscious. From there, Tracey, continued the attack by kicking her in the head repeatedly as well as smash her head against the pavement.
In an attack such as this, one must ask what provoked the attack. It has been reported that Tracy received text messages from Ratley, in which she reportedly taunted him with regard to the death of one of his family members, provoking the violent attack.
Due the viciousness of the crime, prosecutors have yet to determine whether they will try Tracey as an adult or minor. In the meantime he is being held at a juvenile detention center.
Ratley was scheduled to undergo further surgery Monday, April 19th. We do not have word on her current prognosis.