Column: Pueblo family never gave up hope on boy
"The journey begins six years ago on a dark road just before midnight.

Carla Laweka is driving home to Albuquerque after a long day delivering eldest child Kayla's high school graduation cards to relatives scattered along the rugged countryside of the Zuni Pueblo.

She and Kayla give each other high-fives, happy the task is behind them. Snuggled and seat-belted between them is youngest son, Nicky, 4.

Always Nicky.

"He went with me everywhere," Carla remembers.

They called him "Little Man" because he possessed a sageness, an ability to articulate beyond his years, even if it often revealed itself in self-promoting tattles on Kayla and brother Kevin ("They didn't wash their hands, but I did").

Kayla was the first to see the headlights bouncing wildly toward them.

"Mom!" she screamed. Carla saw them, too, but she couldn't steer fast enough. Her arm flew up instinctively to protect her children from the impact.

But a mother's arm is no match for a one-ton pickup barreling head-on at 70 mph.

In the oily aftermath of twisted metal and broken glass, Carla realized she could no longer feel Nicky next to her."

Get the Story:
Joline Gutierrez Krueger: How a Boy Made Family Stronger (The Albuquerque Journal 5/25)