Blanca Rivera lives in Houston but has been in touch with her brother, Miah’s father, since the Uvalde tragedy.
On the day of the shooting, Rivera spoke to ABC13 while her niece was in the hospital about five hours away to be treated for bullet fragments that hit her in the back.
As details emerged, she learned just how far the child went to survive.
“With all that blood on her clothes and everything that means she wanted to survive,” Rivera said in an interview Thursday. “She did what she had to do to survive… (she) pretended to be dead.”
Rivera said she doesn’t know how her niece got the idea, but it probably saved her life.
As they understood, the fourth grade students rotated between the classes of the two fourth grade teachers and the rooms were connected. She believes Miah’s teacher was Irma Garcia who was killed.
When parents wondered where their children were amid the chaos, telling reporters or posting online that they were missing, Miah told her father she knew where they were.
“She said the kids aren’t missing,” Rivera said. “They were in her classroom.”
The days following the tragedy were tough for the 11-year-old and her parents. Rivera said the elementary school student was physically ill and barely slept. She knows she will need therapy to deal with what she has experienced.
Rivera explained to her kids what happened to Miah on Tuesday night. She said her son cried during the moment of silence at school the next day, thinking about how he could have lost his cousin.
Rivera’s daughter, Gabriela, who is also in fourth grade, is close to Miah and they talk regularly. The child said she was saddened by what happened and wanted to speak to Miah but knew she needed space.
“I know it’s going to be hard for her with all her friends gone,” Gabriela said. “Her teachers… like she was just alone at the time it happened. I know my grandma was there for her.”
They don’t know why or how Miah’s life was spared, but they are incredibly grateful.
“God only knows,” Rivera said. “Only God can answer that question. We just thank Him it was her. She has a story to tell.”
The Rivera family plan to go to Uvalde in the next few weeks to visit relatives and hopefully get some other thoughts, if only for now.
“You don’t have to be a parent to feel the pain these parents go through,” Rivera said. “It’s unbelievable what they went through, especially the smaller kids. You didn’t have to go through that.”
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https://abc13.com/uvalde-texas-elementary-school-shooting-robb-survivor/11898393/ Uvalde, Texas school shooting: 11-year-old Miah Cerillo played dead to survive while a gunman shot and killed classmates at Robb Elementary School