Edmonton teen suffers 'Joker' cut to mouth in alleged machete attack
WARNING: This story contains a graphic image that may be disturbing to some readers
RCMP allege a machete was the weapon used in a brutal attack on an Edmonton teenager who was found terribly beaten with shocking injuries last week in Beaumont.
A family friend of Braydon Heather, 14, who lives in Mill Woods, said he remains sedated in intensive care after being found with what police described as "obvious head injuries" at about 1:35 a.m. June 21.
Melanie Aube, who has known Heather's mother Amberleah since kindergarten, said she was disturbed by the photos of the 14-year-old hooked up to tubes in hospital.
"I looked at it and it brought me to tears, I couldn't believe it. I didn't even recognize it to be Braydon," said Aube, adding she has been told the teenager is in stable condition.
Aube said it's unclear what the lasting effects of the injuries will be but said Braydon Heather was battered so severely there is swelling in his brain. He has had five strokes, she said. He also has several lacerations, including to his face.
"Most of the injuries were to his upper body — his arms, his head. The most shocking and frightening, though, was the cuts to his face. I just don't know how someone could do that to someone else," said Aube, who has been in constant contact with Heather's mother and was at the hospital Monday.
She said there are signs of improvement in the teenager and "things are starting to heal."
Police believe 15-year-old charged knew Braydon Heather
With no obvious connection to anyone in Beaumont that Braydon Heather's family is aware of, Aube said it's a mystery to them how he ended up there.
RCMP said the boy facing charges is 15. Police confirmed the pair knew each other.
The accused, who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, made his first appearance in court on June 23.
He's charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public.
He's been remanded in custody and is due to make another appearance in court July 8.
A gofundme page has been set up to help Amberleah Heather through her time of crisis.
Cut to mouth compared to 'The Joker'
"It is so traumatic. So horrific," said Rhonda Brimacombe-Tricker, a friend of the victim's mother who helped get the page going.
The web page includes more details of Heather's injuries. It likens the cut to his mouth to "The Joker" and says hundreds of stitches were needed to close up the many wounds.
The gofundme page says both sides of the 14-year-old's jaw were broken and are being held together with plates and pins. It says his left thumb was reattached in a four-hour surgery.
"I can't even imagine if that were my son. I'm at a loss for words," said Brimacombe-Tricker, adding that more than $40,000 has been raised to help Heather with things like rent and food as she maintains a vigil at her son's hospital bed.
Victim's mother 'staying strong'
"It's such a relief to know Amber is going to be able to focus on Braydon and his recovery for the next year," said Brimacombe-Tricker. She said the money raised could help with cosmetic procedures that may be needed in future.
Melanie Aube said her friend is "staying strong" under the circumstances.
"Just bunkered down at the hospital and watching him every minute and hoping when he wakes up he'll be able to tell us who did this and why," Aube said.
She said Amberleah Heather was not ready to talk to reporters yet but granted permission to her to release details.
With files from Janice Johnston