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New prosthetics will help abuse victim keep active

Kyra Wine is picked up by Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics patient advocate Carrie Davis after the 5-year-old tried out her new prosthetic
Kyra Wine is picked up by Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics patient advocate Carrie Davis after the 5-year-old tried out her new prosthetic "stubbies" that will allow her to play outside this summer. Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics practitioner Don Christenson, who fitted Wine, is in the background. (Colin Mulvany)

One of North Idaho’s worst cases of child abuse is now a remarkable story of recovery.

Kyra Wine, whose feet were amputated after she was badly abused by her mother’s boyfriend two years ago, received new prosthetic legs in Spokane on Friday designed for outdoor activities.

“There’s nothing that she can’t do with those feet,” said Kyra’s grandmother, Deanna Wine. “Run, jump, swim and climb.”

Wine, an EMT and director of St. Maries Ambulance, was granted guardianship of 5-year-old Kyra and her 8-year-old sister, Amanda, last month.

The girls have lived with her in St. Maries since police arrested their mother, Christina Haynes, and the mother’s boyfriend, Charles W. Smith, June 17, 2008, on child abuse charges. Both are in prison.

The girls’ father – Wine’s son – works long hours as a logger but sees the girls regularly, Wine said.

The short prosthetic legs, called stubbies, have a traction grip and no knee joints. They’ll allow Kyra to keep up with summer activities, such as swimming in the family pool, without damaging her conventional pair. It’s her second pair of the specialty prosthetics — she wore through the first pair last summer.

“She’ll do the same with these in short order,” laughed Don Christenson, a prosthetic orthotist at Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics. “She’s come a tremendous way.”

Both girls are in counseling, but Kyra’s physical therapy is over.

Kyra is set to begin kindergarten in St. Maries this fall. Meanwhile, the family is looking forward to a camp in July for children living with prosthetic limbs, Camp No Limits. Amanda will attend the camp, too.

“Amanda’s also going to be growing up with this,” Wine said. “She has to deal with kids staring at her sister.”

The overnight camp includes activities like sports competitions and a talent show. Children with lost limbs attend from around the Inland Northwest. It will be Kyra’s and Amanda’s first long-term experience with other amputees.

“They all get together and they say ‘Hey, I’m not they only one, and I can do anything anyone else can do,’” Christenson said.

Kyra’s injuries, which also include an amputated finger and missing patches of hair, resulted from months of abuse by Smith at her mother’s home in St. Maries. Smith had moved to St. Maries from out of state to live with Haynes after meeting her on the Internet.

He is serving a 10-year prison sentence in Boise after pleading guilty in spring 2008 to injury to a child. Haynes was sentenced in July 2008 to 10 years in prison with eligibility for parole after five years.

Wine said the community’s support for Kyra has been wonderful.

“The community was great. They need to know how Kyra is doing. This is how she’s doing,” Wine said as her granddaughter played in the next room.