KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Kansas City, Kansas, family says they can't catch a break. After losing their 10-year-old daughter to a driveby shooting last October, they just received a letter this week from the state saying it won't help pay for the funeral.
The reasoning behind it all has Machole Stewart's family appalled.
"All you really can do is take it day by day," said Machole's mother, Angela Fowler.
Fowler's home reflects the sunlight on a beautiful Saturday afternoon but when Fowler looks at it, she sees a much different picture.
"It's heartbreaking," she says.
A home covered with 24 bullet holes but it's this one on the front door that tells a heartbreaking story. Fowler says her daughter was just beyond the door watching TV when a car pulled up firing shots.
She says Machole tried to run and take cover but a bullet flew through the front door and pierced her daughter's head, killing her instantly.
"When you lose a 10 year old baby behind something she had nothing to do with, it's terrible," said Fowler.
But according to this letter, the state of Kansas doesn't think machole and her family are innocent victims. The Attorney General's Victim's Compensation Board writes that the family will not receive compensation for machole's funeral. The letter cites two reasons: The victim has not fully cooperated with law encorcement and the victim was likely engaging in or attempting to engage in unlawful activity at the time of the crime.
"She wasn't committing a crime. She was sitting watching tv at the time of a driveby shooting and she lost her life. What crime was she committing?" Fowler asked.
"Machole is the one that got killed. She's 10! She doesn't even know the people," Machole's grandmother Kimberly Blackman said.
Fowler says police believe she knows more than she's telling them about the night her daughter was murdered but fowler maintains she's told them everything.
"We done told them everything they need to know. Who wouldn't want to cooperate when somebody has lost their life. Especially a ten year old. C'mon," Fowler said.
Fowler says the reason she can't see light, even on the sunny days, is because of this hole and even on the days she feels hope it's letters like these that pulls her back down.
"We already can't get no justice and on top of that we can't get help burying her," said Fowler.
Machole's family does have the option to file an appeal but they say they just want to leave the letter behind them.