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Mother of 7-year-old boy who was attacked in DHS, speaks out for the first time

The mother of a 7-year-old boy who was attacked in Desert Hot Springs on Saturday night is speaking out for the first time.

"He is sleeping most of the time. About every 2 hours he wakes up and I can tell he's going to wake up because he gets a sad look on his face," Wendy Ludwick said.

Wendy Ludwick spoke exclusively with News Channel 3 on Wednesday to give an update on her son's condition.

"I put my hands on his face and I tell him, 'Momma’s here, momma’s here. Momma’s not going to leave you,'" she said.

Ludwick has been at her son's bedside since Saturday, when he was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center. She said he has opened one of his eyes a few times, but he rarely stays awake.

"He wakes up I think to tell us that he’s in pain and he’s mad because he’ll kick his feet and he’ll slap the bed with his hand, his right hand, because he still can’t move his left hand."

Gavin remained in the Intensive Care Unit as of Wednesday. He was attacked Saturday night after heading home from a neighbor's pool party. Ludwick said it was just a few houses down from where the family lives. She said she went to pick him up at 5:00 p.m., but the neighbor said she was going to get them food, and that she would bring Gavin home on a golf cart.

"Well something happened and she didn’t give him a ride home in the golf cart and she just sent him to walk up the street. I didn’t know that or I would have gone down to pick him up," said Ludwick.

A neighbor who lives across the street, Alturo Delgado, was leaving his home with his girlfriend to get some food. As he turned the car around, he discovered the unconscious boy lying facedown on Vista Del Valle just after 7:00 p.m.

Ludwick said she and her daughter heard a knock on the door. Her daughter went to answer, and Delgado was carrying Gavin in his arms. She said he placed him on the couch and that's when she called 911.

Gavin was first taken to Desert Regional Medical Center before he was airlifted out.

Photo provided by friends of the family

First responders contacted News Channel 3 Wednesday afternoon to share their heartfelt condolences for Gavin and his family:

Hi,
I was the flight nurse that flew Gavin to Loma Linda with my partner, Jerry And our pilot, Rob. I just want you and his family to know that the flight crew are keeping our little guy in our thoughts and prayers. There are a few patients that we hold near and dear to our hearts and he definitely was one that we will all remember for our careers. We check on him last night when we dropped off a different patient off at Loma Linda. We really truly are sending positive vibes for a positive recovery. We are so sorry that the family and friends are all having to cope with such a senseless act. Gavin is in our thoughts and hearts and it was a privilege to help take care of him. Please send hugs with love from the flight crew. We would love to show off the helicopter to Gavin once he recovers!! He is part of the team!
Love,
The Big Bear Flight Crew

Desert Hot Springs Police conducted an extensive investigation along with Riverside County Sheriff and California Highway Patrol. Nearby surveillance video led them to arrest Daniel Poulsen, 32, early Sunday morning. He was charged with attempted murder. Police described the incident as a random, unprovoked attack. Poulsen is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon at the Banning Justice Center.

On Monday, one neighbor described the moment he found little Gavin lying on the street facedown.

Ludwick also has a daughter. The family has had a tough time after her husband died on March 29 from cancer. She said her late husband, Charlie, and Gavin were very close.

"[Gavin] gets upset and he said numerous times, 'I wish God would bring daddy back.' He misses them because they were buddies," Ludwick said.

Ludwick said doctors are waiting for the swelling to go down on Gavin's head to determine whether there is brain damage.

"They had to remove the right plate of his skull; the bones were so fragmented that they couldn’t even save them..." Ludwick said. "They said in 2-3 months they’re going to have to put a titanium plate in his head and I don’t know what that’s going to do. They did say as he gets older it’s going to have to be changed as he grows."

It's unclear how long Gavin will be hospitalized. Ludwick said eventually when he is released, he will have to go to an intensive rehab facility.

Friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.

Click here to make a donation.

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Shelby Nelson

Shelby Nelson is a News Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. She joined our team in September 2019 after living in San Francisco for 6 years. Learn more about Shelby here.

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