"I genuinely believe she is in there. ... She's very responsive, she has a good sense of humor. There's just so much promise."
— Judy Gautier, speech therapist for rape victim
BLOOMINGDALE — She still sees the world in light and shadows, is still fed from a tube and can't speak a word, but the victim of a brutal rape outside the Bloomingdale Regional Library is slowly improving, her sister said.
The girl, a former East Bay High School student, was left with severe brain damage after suffering multiple strokes during the attack in 2008.
A hyperbaric chamber paid for with donations from an August fundraiser seems to be helping her progress.
Her sister said this month that the girl is now able to make sounds, visually follow objects better and eat a little on her own.
This month, her family took her to visit Santa.
"She's very happy," the sister said.
Meanwhile, Kendrick Morris, convicted of the rape in October, awaits his sentencing.
Because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May that life sentences for juveniles who haven't been convicted of killing someone qualify as cruel and unusual punishment, Morris, who was 16 at the time of the crime, cannot face a life behind bars.
A status hearing is scheduled Feb. 15.
Morris remains in jail without bail.
Kim Wilmath, Times staff writer