Seven-year-old drive-by shooting victim Emahleeah Frost was on her way back to Waterville around noon Thursday after spending nearly a week at a Portland hospital where she was treated for a bullet lodged between two vertebrae in her back.

Emahleeah Frost, 7, is returning to Waterville with her parents today after nearly a weeklong stay at Maine Medical Center in Portland after being shot Friday afternoon at her family’s apartment at 42 Summer St. in Waterville. The family will not be returning to that address. Photo courtesy of Davina Petchonka

“She’s doing really great,” her mother, Davina Petchonka, said Thursday.

Emahleeah was being escorted to a waiting vehicle outside Maine Medical Center just before noon as her mother spoke to the Morning Sentinel via cellphone. With Emahleeah chatting audibly in the background, Petchonka said her daughter was excited to be leaving the hospital.

They will not be returning to their apartment at 42 Summer St. in Waterville, where Emahleeah was struck by a bullet around 3:30 p.m. Feb. 28 when she was in her bedroom having a snack after school.

“We’re supposed to be in a hotel for a week while we work with the school and everybody to work out a place to live,” Petchonka said. “She doesn’t want to go back there. We don’t want her to have to go back there. None of us feel safe there.”

Police continue to investigate the shooting, following up on tips, interviewing people and reviewing evidence.

“They’ve got a couple of leads that they’re working on,” Petchonka said. “They said they have one that they’re leaning on pretty hard — that’s all I know.”

Drive-by shooting victim Emahleeah Frost, 7, was on her way back to Waterville on Thursday after being discharged from a Portland hospital where she was treated for a bullet lodged between two vertebrae in her back. Submitted photo

Waterville Deputy police Chief Bill Bonney said Thursday that police “have been working nonstop on the case since it happened on Friday.”

“We have eliminated some leads and focused on others, but we’re still encouraging anyone with any information to call Detective Gordon,” he said.

Daryl Gordon, the Police Department’s lead investigator on the case, may be reached by calling 680-4700.

Meanwhile, Petchonka said Thursday while leaving the Portland hospital that Emahleeah is “right back to her old self.”

“We’re going down to meet Daddy at the car now,” she said to Emahleeah, while simultaneously speaking with a Morning Sentinel reporter.

Petchonka said she and her husband, Charles Frost Jr., are grateful for everybody’s help and support through their ordeal.

“We really are appreciative that everyone was there for her — the doctors and everybody. They’ve been amazing.”

The bullet remains in Emahleeah’s back. She is wearing a chest and neck brace that her mother says helps relieve pain.

“She has to have it on — it makes her feel a little more comfortable,” she said.

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