Maui Toddler Nearly Beaten to Death

Shari Rodrigues shares a fun moment with her grandmother.
Shari Rodrigues shares a fun moment with her grandmother.
Cheryl Luker tends to granddaughter Shari Rodrigues at Kapiolani Medical Center.
Cheryl Luker tends to granddaughter Shari Rodrigues at Kapiolani Medical Center.

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A two-year-old continues her bumpy road to recovery, after a severe beating on Maui last month. Shari Rodrigues suffered head and internal injuries, and is hospitalized at Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu.

Her grandmother spoke exclusively to KHNL News 8's Minna Sugimoto.

The suspect is locked up at the Maui Community Correctional Center, awaiting his arraignment at Circuit Court. It's been a roller-coaster ride for his alleged victim. We met two-year-old Shari on one of her good days. It's a story you'll see Only on 8.

Bright eyes and an infectious smile. Shari Rodrigues is described as a bubbly, active two-year-old.

"Loved riding her bikes, playing with her cousins and going swimming, going to the beach," Cheryl Luker, victim's grandmother, said.

But instead of laying on the sand, she's been laying on a hospital bed -- the victim of a horrific beating that put her on the brink of death.

"I wanted to throw up," Luker said. "Her intestine was pulled away from the wall of her stomach. That had to be repaired. Her spleen is damaged. She has two fractured ribs. Her pancreas was torn in half."

She says Shari also suffered a fractured skull, and damage to her brain tissue.

Francisco Ramirez is accused of delivering the blows. The 25-year-old is the boyfriend of the little girl's mother. He is charged with attempted murder.

According to Maui police, the suspect said he beat the child because she gave him a disrespectful look.

"Unbelievable. Nobody should have to go through that, not a two-year-old child," Luker said.

Luker has been at her grand-daughter's bedside since the child was transferred to Kapiolani, from Maui, March 15th. For nearly three weeks, she's been living out of a small suitcase. Her job on Maui is on hold.

Grandma keeps a journal, and cherishes Shari's good days.

"She was rubbing my face and playing with it and giving me a hug with her good left arm, squeezing my neck," she said. "And that, that keeps you going."

Not only is this an emotional burden for Luker, but it's a financial one as well. If you can help this child, visit a Bank of Hawaii branch and make a contribution to the "Shari Assistance Fund."

Shari is scheduled to undergo an MRI on her brain Wednesday.