14-year-old girl shot in the head says 'I'm tougher than a bullet'

Mythili Sampathkumar

A 14-year-old girl, who spent two months in hospital after being shot in the head, has said she is “tougher than a bullet” after being allowed to go home.

After being in a medically induced coma for some time in the Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, Deserae Turner has been reunited with her parents Matt and April.

Making her first public appearance since the shooting, Deserae said she was “so thankful to be here today, to be alive” and thanked the many people in her community and strangers who prayed for her family and took care of her parents.

Her father said he had seen "many miracles" in his daughter's recovery to date and was overwhelmed by all the love and support from people praying for the family. He and his wife did not speak about the crime that almost ended their daughter’s life.

She was reported missing on 16 February by her parents when she did not return home from school. She was found that night, having been shot, by family friends who were walking by the canal as part of a search party.

Police said Ms Turner was allegedly lured to a dried out canal in Smithfield, Utah, shot in the back of the head, and left for dead by two teenagers from a local high school.

Two boys - aged 16 - have been arrested and charged on a number of counts including attempted murder. A judge will decide if they will be tried as adults or juveniles. When asked in a preliminary court hearing why they allegedly shot Ms Turner, one of the boys said it was due to her use of social media platform Snapchat and the messages she was allegedly sending him.

"I just didn't want anything to do with Snapchatting her anymore," said the boy. He claimed to have gotten the gun from his brother.

Deserae will have to undergo intensive physical therapy to regain basic functions, according to her father.

She appeared on camera in a wheelchair but remained upbeat as she wore a t-shirt that read “happy” on the front and “there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy” on the back of it.