Mother speaks out after boyfriend arrested for child cruelty

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A local baby is fighting for her life after suffering severe brain injuries, but her mother said Sunday she has shown signs of improvement.

"She tried to pull the tubes out of her mouth," said Courtney Forte. "So, she's being a fighter. She really is."

Forte's boyfriend, Jose Martin Islas, 30, is charged with aggravated assault and child cruelty in the case.

"I used to think that it was very hard and it hurt to see my baby cry and then I realized that it hurts even worse to not even be able to hear her cry," said Forte.

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Deputies arrested Islas early Wednesday morning after doctors at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston examined 11-month-old Daniella Forte's injuries. Investigators determined her injuries were inconsistent with Islas's story.

"We thought she went into a diabetic coma, but then all the facts started coming in. So now there is anger, guilty; we're just very emotional," said Tim Vessell, Forte's grandfather.

Forte's family told FOX 5 she suffered brain damage and is in critical condition.

"She has movements they didn't expect, so it is day-by-day right now… [Children] are helpless. They depend on us as adults. So, when something like this happens it just hurts your heart," said Vessell.

Forte has not left her daughter's bedside and said the support from her family and the community has helped her tremendously.

"The prayers are working and I just ask for them to keep on coming, because we can't give up hope," said Forte.

Investigators are monitoring the child's condition to determine whether the charges against Islas will be upgraded. He is being held in the Coweta County Jail without bond.