FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CBS/AP) Michael Brewer, himself a victim of a heinous crime allegedly at the hands of classmates, visited his friend and classmate Josie Lou Ratley, who remains in a medically induced coma after a brutal attack March 17.
Brewer said he wanted to come to show Ratley's family support and even to give them hope that she can pull through and rise above what happened to her.
Ratley's mother, Hilda, said she was grateful for the support and the helpful tips they gave her, such as recording familiar voices to play for Ratley while she recovers.
"They're wonderful people," Hilda Ratley told the Florida Sun-Sentinel of the Brewers. "They've given us a little bit of hope."
Ratley was allegedly attacked by Wayne Treacy, 15, who punched, kicked and stomped on her with steel-toed boots after he says she made "disparaging" remarks about his brother who committed suicide October 2009, according to police. Treacy is being held in a juvenile detention center on a first-degree attempted murder charge
Treacy's 13-year-old girlfriend, Kayla Manson, is also being held on charges of being an accessory to first-degree assault because she allegedly told Treacy where to find Ratley, knowing he meant to harm her.
Brewer was doused with alcohol and intentionally set on fire by a group of classmates in October 2009 and suffered burns over two thirds of his body and spent time in a coma. He surprised doctors by making an amazing recovery and was released from the hospital before Christmas 2009.
"She's my friend," Brewer said of the 15-year-old Ratley, with whom he once shared a science class. Although the meeting between the families was private, Brewer family spokeswoman Terri Lynn said the Brewers' message was "we are here for you. We know what you're going through."
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