MARRIOTT-SLATERVILLE -- Residents of an apartment complex are puzzled how a 4-year-old girl who uses a wheelchair was able to consume alcohol Thursday and be rendered unconscious.
"There is no way she could get alcohol by herself to drink," said Lorie Castillo, who lives at 1045 S. 1200 West, Apartment 40, adding that the girl resides in Apartment 42.
The girl has been identified as Le'A Silva by her aunt Crystal Silva.
She said Le'A was in stable condition at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City on Friday but declined to discuss the incident that put her in the hospital.
Neighbors said they have seen Le'A taken in and out of her apartment in a wheelchair.
Carl Martinez, who identified himself as Le'A's great-uncle, said the girl is completely incapacitated by her physical disability.
"You can't leave her alone," he said. "This is tragic."
At 11:53 a.m. Thursday, medical units responded to the apartment where the girl lives and found her unresponsive, said Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther. The girl's mother had called 911, he added.
Numerous patrol vehicles converged on the apartment complex and quickly began gathering items from the residence where Le'A lives, Castillo said.
She saw investigators remove a beer can and an empty 18-pack of Budweiser in a brown bag used to collect evidence.
Officers also searched a trash bin on the east side of the apartment complex, said Kierra Alexander, who lives in Apartment 17.
Le'A was initially transported to McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden. Hospital medical staff determined she had a level of alcohol in her system high enough to cause distress and transferred her to Primary Children's Medical Center.
Information was not available from the sheriff's office regarding the amount and type of alcohol the girl consumed or how she obtained it. The Weber County Sheriff's Office and the Utah Division of Child and Family Services are conducting an investigation.
Elizabeth Sollis, spokeswoman for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, would neither confirm nor deny the agency is investigating the incident.
Several people have been interviewed as part of the investigation, Lowther said. No charges had been filed as of Friday afternoon.
Children's bodies absorb alcohol rapidly, sometimes in less than 30 minutes, according to www.uofmmedicalcenter.org, a website operated by the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
Symptoms can include confusion, vomiting and seizures. The child may have difficulty breathing and flushed or pale skin. Alcohol impairs the gag reflex, which can cause choking. Alcohol may also cause low blood sugar in children and can result in a coma.
Watch a video interview of an apartment resident.