LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas – A 5-year-old Liberty County girl is smiling again after grieving for weeks after her beloved pet, a miniature horse named "Chicken Nugget," was shot and killed. Thursday a new miniature horse named "Chicken Wing" was delivered to her family with the help of the community.
It was a long haul for Chicken Wing. Volunteers picked up the animal in New Mexico then drove 11 hours to the family's property in Hull.
"I guess you could say he sent an angel to us and she definitely has wings and made her way to us," said Kylee Brett, the girl's mother.
Kylee believes it was her beloved Chicken Nugget that called from heaven to bring his sister to her. This was a ray of light.
Earlier this month, authorities said someone entered the Brett family ranch in Hull, Texas, in Liberty County, and shot Chicken Nugget in the head at close range. The Brett family found him when they woke up and buried him later that morning. Authorities are still looking for the killer.
Chicken Nugget now rests where he's always been -- close to Rylee's heart. A necklace with his name engraved is what she proudly wears every day. Her heart still has a gaping hole that her mother and the community are now trying to fill.
Thursday was the day Rylee got to meet who she's been waiting for. She got to meet Chicken Wing.
"Just the anticipation of it -- not knowing what to expect," said Kylee, waiting for Mandi Harmon, a volunteer with BDM Performance Horses in Orlando who drove from California to New Mexico and then to Texas to deliver the horse.
"When I heard about this on the news, I knew I just had to get involved," said Harmon.
The 250 pound, 28-inch horse was donated by Double J Farm in Belen, New Mexico.
"When I saw the first story on KPRC, and I saw Rylee's picture on the horse's grave it tore me apart," said Jeff Lisowski owner of Double J Farm. "I knew I had to do something."
After 14 hours of driving, Harmon took the horse out onto the family's driveway.
"Can you give her a hug?" said Harmon who dressed the horse in a pink tiara handmade by volunteers in New Mexico. "She's Rylee's little princess and princesses have tutus and tiaras."
Rylee opened her heart and welcomed Chicken Wing with open arms.
"That sounds just like Chicken Nugget!" said Rylee.
It did not take very long for the new duo to become inseparable. Rylee led Chicken Wing around her driveway and into the fields.
"She's a good pony and I like her," said Rylee.
Playfully petting, even imitating the horse's sounds, Rylee played.
"She does what I tell her to," said Rylee.
Her mother and Harmon were in tears.
"She lost her best friend, and I just see so much joy that this pony's already brought to her, so I know that this is now a new best friend for her, something she'll get to cherish and remember," said Kylee.
"My horsee!" said Rylee.
Who knew a horse named Chicken Wing could send everyone's spirits sky high?
"It was worth every minute. It was worth every mile driven to see a smile back on her face," said Harmon.
"This is the happiest I've seen her in a long time," said Kylee. "She'll get to share and remember all the good people and she'll get to share her love again with this pony."
Meanwhile, investigators are still looking for the person who killed Chicken Nugget. Crime stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to a person's arrest. Anyone having such information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392 STOP (7867). The identity of any person calling in a "tip" will remain anonymous.
5-year-old Rylee Brett lost her best friend, a mini pony named Chicken Nugget who passed away earlier this month. Today Rylee is adopting Chicken Nugget’s sister, Chicken Wing. A volunteer drove chicken Wing all the way from New Mexico.Posted by KPRC2 Rose-Ann Aragon on Thursday, November 30, 2017