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February 06, 2017 10:00 PM

A Survivor's Story

It's been nearly a year since a Sioux Falls mother was shot multiple times in the head in front of her children.

The gunman, her ex-boyfriend, then turned the gun on himself and later died in a hospital. She miraculously survived. 

In her first and only television interview as Kellie Dagel shares her story with us about an abusive relationship where the violence escalated so much, it nearly cost her her life. 

Last February, sirens rang out in a western Sioux Falls neighborhood.

Dagel, a mother of two, was shot multiple times by Cameron D. Young, her ex-boyfriend.  Dagel had been outside playing with her 12 year old and 10 year old kids at the time.

"Next thing you know, he comes and pulls up around the corner, out of all the places, he comes over and boom, boom, boom," Dagel said. 

Dagel is still recovering after three surgeries to the areas where the gunshots struck her. 

"My head, my eye and then my jaw, broke my jaw," Dagel said. 

Dagel was in the hospital for three months.  Her left eye had to be surgically removed and has been replaced with a prosthetic eye. 

She now has a plastic plate in her skull and during one of her surgeries Dagel suffered a stroke, leaving her partially paralyzed on her entire right side.  

The shooting not only left her physically scarred, it also damaged her emotionally. 

"I can't sleep, I can't stop thinking about it, my kids still have nightmares, they're scared," Dagel said. 

Scared is something Dagel knew all about.  She says she lived in fear during the five and half years she was dating and living with Young.   

Throughout their relationship, she described Young as violent, abusive and unpredictable.  

She soon began taking pictures of her injuries. (not the worst ones)

Then in November of 2015, while Young was out of town, Dagel had had enough of the abuse and didn't want to subject her children to anymore violence.  

So she decided to make a daring escape and got a place of her own for herself and her two kids. 

Only the violence was about to get a whole lot worse.  

"He came back that day that I got beat up. He beat the crap out of me and hit me, hit me with a gun over the forehead," Dagel said. 

Dagel took these pictures of her blackened eyes, bruised face and cut lip.  

Young was arrested and charged with aggravated assault in that attack, but was released from jail on bond. 
 
In January, Dagel took out a protection order against Young.  She indicated in court papers, she often used a 2 X 4 to barricade her front door. 

"I was scared he was going to break in and hit me again, he was crazy," Dagel said. 

She even bought a gun and carried it with her at all times. 

"My sister told me don't leave the house, don't leave anywhere without your gun," Dagel said. 

But on February, 26 of 2016, the day of the shooting, Dagel says she left her gun inside her apartment while she and her kids were outside playing.

She doesn't remember the shooting.

"My son told me that if he can't have me, nobody would, that's when he shot me," Dagel said.  "It was crazy, I never thought he'd do that, I'm blessed to be alive, very thankful that I can see my kids again and my family has been awesome, I love them, I'm glad he's dead, he can never hurt me again." 

While the shooting left Dagel disabled, she's hoping to someday go back to work.
However, at this time she just doesn't know when that'll be. 

Because the shooting happened in front of her two children, they are both receiving counseling two times a month. 


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