The family of a Brazilian teenager who was injured in a multivehicle wreck in Florida last month – a wreck that killed at least 11 people, including four of her relatives, amid dense fog and smoke from a brush fire – has released the first post-crash picture of her exclusively to CNN.
Lidiane Carmo, 15, is progressing at Shands at the University of Florida hospital, where she has been since the January 29 wreck on I-75 outside Gainesville, one of her uncles said.
The case of Lidiane, who has lived in the United States for most of her life, drew widespread attention after church members said she was an illegal immigrant, and they were afraid she could face deportation. But federal officials said last week that she would be allowed to stay in the United States.
Her father, Jose Carmo, was a pastor at International Church of the Restoration in Marietta, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Lidiane came to the United States from Brazil when she was only 2, another pastor at the church told CNN; the family stayed in the United States after their visas expired, CNN affiliate WSB reported.
Jose Carmo; his wife, Adriana; their daughter Leticia; Jose's brother Edsom Carmo; and a companion were killed the in the wreck. Edsom Carmo was driving one of the church's vans.
The Carmo family's bodies were transported to Marietta on Wednesday, and a funeral is scheduled for Monday at a separate Atlanta-area church. Lidiane wants to attend but cannot leave the hospital, her uncle said.
"She is like any regular American girl. (But) she wasn't born here," the Rev. Aron Amazonas said last week. "She acts like an American girl. She almost can't speak the Portuguese language. She doesn't know the people there."