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X-Rays Show Bullet Still Lodged In Robbery Victim's Face

MIAMI(CBS4) - New x-rays of a Miami mother who was shot in the face by a robber, despite giving him her purse, showed how close she came to being permanently disfigured and disabled.

One x-ray showed how a bullet was still lodged below her jaw.

"It's a really serious situation because both the face and the neck are tied to vital structures," said Dr. Gabriel Ruiz, a clinical instructor of surgery at the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

That's where 36-year-old Evelin Matamoros was rushed on Thursday night after the mother of two children was shot in the face while leaving a restaurant at 5300 N.W. 7th Avenue.

A police report said she was approached by 20-year-old convicted felon Kmiah Lanier who demanded her purse. The report said she said a few sentences in Spanish and Lanier did not understand her. She gave up her purse and moments later she was shot in the face.

Dr. Ruiz spoke about Matamoros in a news conference at the Ira Clark Diagnostic Treatment Center where a series of X-rays were displayed at a news conference.

"She had a gunshot wound here in the side of her face, right here under the eye, by her cheekbone," said Ruiz. He told CBS4's Peter D'Oench that the bullet went directly into her mouth.

"She had a very large swelling of her mouth right here," said Ruiz.

Ruiz spoke about the most dramatic x-ray showing the bullet still lodged below her jaw.

"We were not able to recover the bullet because of its location," Ruiz said. "Sometimes it's more dangerous to pursue an object. You can see the projectile at the base of the mouth."

Matamoros's lower jaw is fractured.

"In this one (x-ray) you see the mandible is fractured because of the trajectory of the bullet," said Ruiz. "We take this situation very seriously because of the risk to life and disability is very high."

Dr. Michael Peleg, a UM/Jackson oral and maxillofacial surgeon, will operate on Matamoros on Wednesday morning, fixing the lower jaw fracture and reconstructing bones and shattered teeth that were show on another x-ray.

"The main challenge is removing all the fragments of bone from the neck," said Peleg. "The bone fragments are very close to vital structures of the neck such as blood vessels. She's at great risk of infection due to the nature of her surgery and the contamination of the surgical field."

Dr. Peleg will insert a titanium plate to replace a gap in Matamoros' lower jaw.

Demonstrating before the x-rays, Peleg said, "So the plate will start in the lower part of the jaw. It will run in the lower aspect of the jaw all the way to the back."

That will enable Matamoros to chew her food and help her speech.

Doctors said the operation will last three to four hours and Matamoros may need three more surgeries. They are optimistic but they note it may be a year before Matamoros will be able to eat and speak the way she did before she was shot.

Kmiah Lanier is being held without bond and is charged with armed robbery with a firearm, attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and use of a firearm during a robbery.

The police report said that Lanier fled on foot after the shooting to a nearby home where a grey Dodge Charger was waiting for him. An off-duty police officer spotted him and the vehicle and took note of the tag as it took off.

Police said the tag came back to Lanier's sister. She was later stopped by an officer who noticed her license tag and cited her for a traffic infraction. Police said she admitted to driving her brother to and from the home near the crime scene but said she did not know her was going to commit a crime. Police said she will not face charges in this crime.

Miami Police also revealed that Lanier was tied to the robbery of another woman last Wednesday, two days before Matamoros was shot.

A check of records showed that Lanier was on probation for two cases from 2011 that involved false imprisonment and robbery.

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