RIVERVIEW, Fla (WFLA) — Saturday evening was a night to remember for hundreds of Bloomingdale High School Students. It was prom night. But the night was extra special for a former student named Queena, who was supposed to graduate in 2008.
Queena was brutally attacked at the Bloomingdale Public Library in April of 2008 as she was returning books. She was raped and left for dead. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s detectives worked tirelessly on the case and eventually arrested Kendrick Morris, who was 16 years old at the time of the attack.
Morris was convicted in that attack and another. He is currently serving life in prison.
Queena was never able to attend her prom dance, until Saturday night.
Two weeks ago her friend Derrick Perez, who is now a senior at Bloomingdale, made a sign asking her to go. Queena still can’t walk or talk, but her smile said yes. Her sister, Anna Donato, says that smile lit up the room.
“I’ve never seen her happier. She was ecstatic,” said Donato. “I mean, she was just beaming. For days now and as you can see inside, she is just lit up. She’s really, really excited.”
Perez is now working on a documentary on Queena’s life and struggles to overcome obstacles. He calls her an inspiration.
“I always love to watch people who have gone through such tragedies and find, I would say the rainbow in the storm,” said Perez. “They find the bright side.”
A group of 55 riders from the Old Town Chapter of Brandon Harley Davidson showed up in front of Queena’s house and escorted her van to the Prom. As Perez helped her out of the van, fellow students and others in the crowd clapped. Queena was smiling from ear to ear.
Her sister says, for Queena, this is an extraordinary trip back to a normal life.
“She doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to be a real princess. Typically she’s in her sweatpants doing therapy or seeing a doctor,” Donato said. “Today is all about her having fun.”
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