For a week, relatives held out hope that Britney Eylar would pull through.
The 22-year-old Fort Worth woman was found unconscious with a head injury New Year’s Day in a lot in the 400 block of Haltom Road.
As her distraught mother prepared to come to Texas from South Carolina to be at her daughter’s bedside, she asked doctors at John Peter Smith Hospital whether her daughter had any chance of surviving.
“They told me yes, there was a small chance, but she might not be the same Britney,” Felecia Land said. “I told them I don’t care if I have to change her Pampers every day for the rest of my life. Even if I got the smallest part of my daughter back, I would be happy with that.”
But after scans revealed that the swelling and bleeding in Eylar’s brain had not stopped, Land made the excruciating decision to remove her oldest child from life support.
“She’s gone,” Land said in a tearful interview about an hour before the life support was removed Friday morning.
“You can look at my daughter and tell that her light — that glow — is gone. You can tell that she’s not there anymore.”
Eylar was pronounced dead shortly after 6 p.m., Land said Friday evening. Eylar’s organs and tissue were to be donated.
“This is a way that she will live on,” Land said. “Besides our memories, she can help so many people through this tragedy. Hopefully somebody else won’t have to lose their baby too.”
The investigation into the attack continues, and no one had been arrested, police said Friday.
“We’re investigating it as an aggravated assault. In the event of her passing, it will be considered a murder,” homicide Detective Jeremy Rhoden said. “We’re looking to talk to people that she was with at the time it happened or prior to the time it happened.”
Land said her daughter was born and raised in Fort Worth, the oldest of six.
“She never met an enemy. She would have done anything for anybody,” Land said. “She loved her brothers and sisters. She was a very special soul.”
Eylar gave birth to a son, Tristen, as a teenager, dropping out of school so she could be a “mom first,” her mother said. She later earned her GED diploma and went to college to become a phlebotomist.
“She went back and finished so she could do better for him,” Land said.
Land said relatives have tried to shield Tristen from the horror of what happened to his mother.
“The only thing we told him is someone hurt her very badly,” Land said. “He’s really little, so I’m not sure that he would understand completely anyway.”
Family members decided it was best for him not to see his mother in the hospital.
“I don’t want the way she looks now to be his last memory of her,” Land said. “I want what he had to be what he has.”
The little boy, who turned 7 Wednesday, is staying with Eylar’s uncle and grandmother.
“We took him to Putt-Putt. We were all with him, and we bought gifts from his mommy and put ‘from Mommy’ on the tags,” Land said. “He was excited he got presents from her. He smiled from ear to ear.”
Land said that she suspects the attacker is someone her daughter trusted and that whoever it was left her for dead.
“For them to be so evil to do this to her, they can’t possibly have a conscience or heart,” she said.
“I never dreamed in a million years that this would happen to my family,” she said. “This is something you see on TV. This is why I stopped watching the news, because of the evil — seeing people miss people they love.
“I never thought in a million years it could come into my home.”
Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655
How to help
Anyone with information about the attack on Britney Eylar is asked to call Fort Worth homicide Detective Jeremy Rhoden at 817-392-4336.