Memphis one-year-old making ‘miraculous’ recovery after brain injuries

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Nearly two months ago, one-year-old Cortney Raegann Smythe, known as Raegann, was at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.

She was suffering from life-threatening brain injuries.  Right now police are still searching for the possible suspect.

After being left in the care of her mother's fiance while she was at work, Raegann somehow sustained a horrible brain injury. She was on life support surrounded by stuffed animals celebrating her first birthday in a hospital bed.

"I would definitely say this is a miracle," Raegann's godmother, Caroline Williams said. "This is not just a normal recovery."

The last time the godmother tearfully talked to us, at the beginning of November, doctors had braced them for the worst: Raegann probably wouldn't survive, and even if she did, she would never be able to walk, talk or communicate. They were prepared to take her off life support because they didn't want her to suffer.

Then doctors did another round of tests.

"As they were doing the test on her, which is very strenuous, she began to cough, and she began to gag," Williams said.

They discovered brain activity. Doctors took her off the ventilator, and from there, the little girl has been unstoppable.

"She can see us," the godmother said. "She can touch us. She knows who we are."

Raegann left Friday to go out of state to receive extensive speech and physical therapy. Williams said doctors were stunned by her recovery and said she could potentially be the girl she was before her injury.

However what caused that injury is still unclear.

The ex-fiance, who Raegann's mother said she left with Raegann while she was at work, Alex Harrison, now has a warrant out for child abuse and endangerment. The Shelby County Sheriff's Department said Harrison has no prior mug shots for them to add to their warrants page.

When officers responded to the initial call that Raegann was hurt on October 28, a relative told officers Harrison had said he was in the shower when he heard a loud noise, then discovered Raegann unresponsive.

When detectives questioned Harrison a police report says he told them a slightly different story.  According to a police report he said he was in the living room with the little girl, leaving her for a few moments with his three-year-old child when he heard a loud noise and found Raegann injured.

"Accidents happen every day, and we know things happen that we don't understand," Williams said. "If it was a legitimate accident, come forward. Let us know."

The family wants answers, but they're also grateful.

"We are just extremely grateful to the Lord for answering prayers and allowing us to keep our baby with us," the godmother said.

Anyone who knows where Harrison could be is asked to contact police.

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