A 16-year-old California boy has awakened from a coma nine months after he was pushed into oncoming traffic.
The family of Angel Figueroa told KNBC that after the February incident and a resulting traumatic brain injury, Figueroa is now relearning simple tasks like lifting his legs and opening his eyes.
“Not quite responding or communicating with us but just moving little movements give us a sign of hope you know,” Figueroa’s aunt Belki Brizuela told KNBC. “There’s hope that he’s going to come out of this.”
Figueroa — whose name police did not release before his father identified him as Angel Botello Hernandez to KTTV in March — was pushed by a “group of young people” into the path of a white Tesla on Feb. 28.
Hemet Police Department said that Figueroa was riding his skateboard on Stetson Avenue before “a brief altercation ensued” when the boy was pushed. The report read that the “group of young people fled the scene following this incident” and that Figueroa’s skateboard was missing.
“I couldn’t recognize him he was so swollen. His head was really big. He had so many scars,” Brizuela told KNBC. “And bruises everywhere, and cuts… I can’t wrap my mind around it. Why? You know, what was the reason to do that you know?”
Brizuela said that the teen who pushed her nephew was sentenced to six months in juvenile hall, with the three others on house arrest, which she called “a slap on the wrist” and a “joke.” Hemet Police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Figueroa, on the other hand, had to get a portion of his skull removed, his aunt said. Brizuela added that he’s now staying in a rehabilitation facility in Orange County.
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The teen’s aunt has since launched a GoFundMe to cover his medical bills, with the ultimate goal to “bring Angel home” and get him a van for future use. Five days after going live, Figueroa’s family has surpassed $32,000 of their $35,000 goal.
“Teach your kids, like, it is not fun and games, you know? It’s not a joke when you go out with your friends,” Brizuela told KABC. “Every decision you make there are consequences.”