Amya Hawthorne spent the second half of her life unable to speak or walk, but her mother says they could always communicate.
"Her eyes spoke to me every day,” says Mary Anne Hawthorne.
Hawthorne says at age 4, Amya was both sassy and mommy's helper. "I called her the 'middle ground' because she was like a little junior mom.”
That all changed in October of 2010.
Columbus Police say Amya was sick and having trouble sleeping. A close family friend, Kimberly Brooks, gave the four year old methadone, a drug used to treat opiate addiction.
Medics rushed Amya to the hospital in cardiac arrest. She would remain unresponsive for more than three years, until her death this week.
The girl’s mother says she is in disbelief. "I can't believe this is happening to me and my family."
Kimberly Brooks is currently serving five years in prison on child endangering charges. Police say if an autopsy shows Amya died from complications from ingesting methadone, Brooks could face new, more serious charges - including involuntary manslaughter.
Hawthorne says if there's anything she's learned from her daughter's life and death, it's that you should hold your children a little longer, a little tighter, every day. "Just let them know that you love them. You can never, never let your kids know you love them enough.”
Hawthorne says she is not only coping with the loss of her child, but after the crime, no one would agree to provide life insurance for her daughter. She is now trying to find the money to give her daughter the service she deserves.