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Abiel Zapata leaves behind a definable absence

The three-year-old died Tuesday following a dental procedure. Now, his family is trying to understand why.
Published: Jul. 11, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A Scott City family is mourning the loss of a three-year-old boy who made sure fun was always around him.

“He’d always loved to be jumping and running around. He was the one that would get them [siblings] to do the same. He was the troublemaker,” said Abiel Zapata’s mother, Nancy Valenzuela

Abiel Zapata died in Wichita this past Tuesday, July 6, after visiting the dentist’s office.

“The last thing I told him was cause he cried cause he felt the needle and stuff, so I told him, “Papi, everything is going to be okay. I’m like, you’re fine,” and as a mother, you just feel like I failed him because you can’t do anything to protect him,” said Valenzuela.

This young child’s death has left his mother Nancy Valenzuela and family trying to understand fully why he died.

It’s as they mourn the definable absence he leaves behind.

“We’re going to miss him because he was the loudest at home. He was very playful and cheerful.” Valenzuela said, “Everything reminds me of him. My house doesn’t feel the same without him.”

Valenzuela said it’s been hard for everyone in their family, including Abiel’s younger brother.

“He pointed up, and he said he was with God, so it brings kind of comfort to me, but it just hurts me that he knows,” she said.

It’s been their faith, Valenzuela said, that has provided them with strength through this time.

“I know he’s an angel, and he’s doing good. That brings comfort to me. It’s just hard not having him around,” Valenzuela said, “I don’t know why it was my son, but I know God had a purpose.”

After her son died, Valenzuela said she made a promise to her son to truly understand why this happened. She said he had no previous medical conditions to explain what happened.

“His heart just stopped beating. Just out of nowhere, so something must have gone wrong,” she said.

Valenzuela said Abiel had cavities and, after getting the opinion of two dentists, was referred to Tiny Teeth in Wichita to have the teeth extracted and be treated.

When EMS arrived, that when Valenzuela said she worried something was wrong.

“We weren’t notified about him, about anything.”

Valenzuela said it was well after the ambulance arrived she learned something happened to her son.

Wichita Police officers were dispatched to an Assist EMS call in the 3900 block of N Maize around 8 a.m. on Tuesday. A 911 caller reported a child becoming unresponsive at that location while receiving dental treatment.

EMS took the child to an area hospital where he later died. Police said they believe the child had an unanticipated reaction to medicine provided during the dental procedure.

No criminal investigation is underway.

For Valenzuela, what she keeps coming back to is why.

“Didn’t expect to come out of there without a child. I don’t think any parent any parent ever expects to come out of a place where you feel like they’d be secure,” Valenzuela said. “... but we did.”

Valenzuela said one of the things she wants to do is make parents more aware of this as a possibility and encourage them to ask questions.

Abiel would have turned four in August.

A Go Fund Me has also been set up to support the family.

Una madre de Kansas quiere envarle un mensaje a otros padres de familia después de que su niño de tres años murió durante un procedimiento dental.

Nancy Valenzuela dice que su hijo Abiel era un niño muy alegre.

“Nos duele por que era el siempre alegre, siempre estaba alegre,” Dijo Valenzuela. " Pero ya no volveremos a ver su risa, su sonrisa, esos ojos pispiretos que él nos daba. Ya no está con nosotros.”

Valenzuela dijo que recuerdos quedan muchos.

“Le gustaba jugar mucho y brincar mucho, gritar mucho, correr mucho,” Dijo Valenzuela. " Pero ahora no tengo eso.”

Abiel murió el miércoles pasado durante un procedimiento dental que se llevó a cabo en Tiny Teeth Pediatrics en Maize. Valenzuela dice que Abiel tenía caries y después de haber recibido la opinión de tres dentistas fue que aceptó el procedimiento.

“Entonces le tenían que poner anestesia y si lo durmieron,” Dijo Valenzuela. “Pero después de un tiempo no sabemos qué pasó. Su corazón dejo de latir y dejó de respirar. Le dieron sus primeros auxilios como por dos horas, pero no sabemos qué le pasó.”

Valenzuela dijo que ahora ella quiere que otros padres hagan conciencia de los riesgos que hay en estos procedimientos y que hagan preguntas.

“Aunque te recomienden una vez, dos veces, tres veces, verificar la información, busquen en línea los ratings también, investiga, por que yo no hice eso.”

Ella dio que a unque la lucha para obtener justicia para Abiel será larga, ella sabe que su niño sentía el amor que lo rodeaba.

“El sabía por que yo le preguntaba todos los dias, ‘¿Quien te ama?’ Y él me decía ‘Mami’. Le decía ‘¿Quien más?,’ y él me decía ‘Papi’, y le decía ‘¿Quien más?’ Y me decía, ‘Papá Diosito.’” Dijo Valenzuela.

Una cuenta de Go Fund Me ha sido creada para apoyar a la familia durante estos tiempos difíciles.

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