Starved Girl Regains 15 Pounds

Starved Girl Regains 15 Pounds

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Jed Boal ReportingLife is brighter for a young girl named Jade, who dropped to 12 pounds while her mother was serving in Iraq.

Her mother is back in Utah to stay. Jade is regaining strength. And the man accused of starving her is in jail.

Jade spent two-and-a-half weeks at Primary Children's Medical Center at the end of the summer.. Doctors said she was nearly starved to death. Today, she's more than doubled her weight, and is reconnecting with her mom.

Anahi Ferrando and her daughter Jade just want life to get back to normal. Slowly that's happening.

"I can't even imagine what she was put through," her mom says.

Jade was emaciated when her grandfather took her to the hospital in August and alerted his daughter in Iraq. The six-year-old weighed only 12 pounds.

Starved Girl Regains 15 Pounds

Jade has cerebral pals, but weighed 35 pounds when Ferrando headed off to Iraq with the Army four months earlier.

Anahi Ferrando/Jade's Mother: "I had to come back to a pretty shocking experience. It was something I never would have expected."

Starved Girl Regains 15 Pounds

When she shipped out, Ferrando left her daughter with her former fiancé, Michael Bowden. Doctors say Jade would have died if the grandfather had not taken the girl from Bowden, who faces child abuse charges.

Anahi Ferrando/Jade's Mother: "I freaked out. I was in Iraq and had my hands tied behind me. I couldn't do anything."

Ferrando rushed home on a 15 day leave, and left the Army for good two weeks ago to care for her daughter.

Anahi Ferrando/Jade's Mother: "Every once in awhile she still has a rough night. For the most part, she's pretty happy."

Jade's up to 27 pounds, grew four inches, and is getting speech therapy in school.

Ferrando is not angry at her former fiancé, and learned valuable lessons from the painful episode. She's moving on as her daughter continues to improve.

Anahi Ferrando/Jade's Mother: "Having the whole family together, it doesn't get any better than that."

Bowden, 26, has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of child abuse and neglect and remains in Salt Lake County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. He has another court appearance scheduled Dec. 15 for a scheduling conference.

Friends of his insist he cared for Jade. He has been accused of letting her languish in front of a television with little food or water over 10 months.

Ferrando wanted a career in the Army, but her daughter needed her at home, so she'll pursue something else.

The Associated Press reports Ferrando said Bowden drained her checking account while she was gone and bought jewelry and other items that put her thousands of dollars in debt.

Jade remains in physical therapy, spending about 50 minutes a day in a standing device. The girl hasn't recovered the strength yet to walk on her own.

(The Associated Press, with information from the Salt Lake Tribune, contributed to this report)

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