Utica, N.Y. - Abdel Ford's fiancée is the mother of the 9-year-old girl named Alyssa who fell down the elevator shaft at the Michael Walsh Apartments in West Utica back on February 15th.
Now 16 days later, Ford says Alyssa is still at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, "It’s going to be a while before she can come home. She’s in physical therapy right now. It’s slow, but she’s making progress."
Ford says Alyssa suffered a major leg injury that required a plate be put in, as well as severe injuries to both of her ankles, and a broken pelvis, which he says has to heal on its own.
Alyssa and another young girl who lives in the apartment building were on the elevator around 3:00 the afternoon of Friday, February 15th when they say the elevator wouldn't stop going up and down, even though they had pressed both of their floors, floor 4 and floor 6.
They say eventually they hit the stop button and the elevator stopped, but the door didn't open. They say they then hit the open button, and the elevator opened near the 3rd floor but there was what they called a black hole in front of them, which was actually the elevator shaft opening.
The one girl jumped over that black hole, but when Alyssa jumped, she fell and hit her head, then fell down that black hole an estimated 30 feet down to the basement.
Right now Ford says he and the girl's mom are focusing their efforts on Alyssa trying to walk again and not so much on why this happened in the first place. He says that will all come out once the Utica Fire Marshal's office finishes their investigation, "They’re currently doing an investigation and I’m not sure what’s going on with that."
I tried contacting Utica Fire Marshal Gerald Foster on Sunday to check into the status of the investigation, but so far have not received a call back.
As far as the elevator, that was still not working when we were there Sunday morning. Ford says management hasn't told him when it might be back up and running, "Never. They haven’t even talked to us, they haven’t even asked us how our daughter was doing."
I called the management office for the Michael Walsh Apartments Sunday afternoon to find out if they knew when the elvator might be back up and running but so far I have not received a call back.
The management did send us a statement the week after the incident saying they are praying for the girl and her family but couldn't comment further on this case because they say the family had engaged a personal injury law firm.
On Sunday Ford did not want to comment on whether he and his fiancée will end up filing a lawsuit.
He does say this has been a nightmare for his family and it continues to be a nightmare for Alyssa, "Every time she goes to sleep she wakes up and like, and she’s like in cold sweats and saying the only thing that she sees is a dark hole where she fell down."