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13-year-old Granger teen who was stabbed 30 times speaks about his trauma

WSBT 22 photo

A father and son are speaking out for the first time, after they say another family member stabbed the young boy on Labor Day 30 times.

We are hearing for the first time from 13-year-old Malakai Bohannon of Granger after he survived the unthinkable -- his uncle is accused of inflicting the brutal knife attack.

Malakai got out of the hospital Friday. He and his family are now staying with his paternal grandparents, and Malakai is having an amazing recovery so far, both physically and emotionally.

“At that time I didn’t really feel any pain,” said Bohannon said. “It was mostly during the fight where I could feel fingers and hands getting sliced, my face getting hit and the blood running. No pain.”

Malakai remained composed as he described the attack that nearly took his life.

Malakai says he was reading a book on Labor Day morning when his uncle came in and started choking and stabbing him.

“For the first minute I was confused,” said Bohannon. “After he stabbed me with the knife, I started screaming frantically. I knew someone was trying to kill me and then I saw him and I was like ‘Why is he trying to kill me’? The entire time I was fighting, I was thinking about other things like ‘Am I going to make it’?”

It wasn't until his grandmother heard his screams that the stabbing stopped.

“I was so happy when I saw my Nana come,” continued Bohannon. “I knew I was thankful that someone finally heard my screams and came to my aid because he stopped after that. I would have died if nobody else had come.”

She also was injured.

Malakai's dad says he thought it was a nightmare when he first saw his son.

“His wrists were fileted open and there was so much blood, I didn't know how bad the extent of it was,” said his father. “I could see tendons, I don’t know if I could see bone or not, but it was really bad."

He instantly held onto his son's wrists to stop the bleeding.

“He said ‘Uncle tried to kill me’ and I was speechless,” said his father.

After five days in the hospital, Malakai has been recovering quickly. Six of his fingers still move so he can use his tablet.

The staples in his back are his biggest hurdle.

"When I wake up, it hurts really bad to try to do anything,” said Bohannon.

One thing that has brought a sense of escape and joy for Malakai is playing Fortnite with his father.

"It's little things that we can do together that help distract him from the pain,” said his father. “I’m not very good and he gets frustrated, but it makes it easier for him to go through this."

“It’s just been a journey to get here, but they have always been by my side,” said Bohannon.

Malakai's father knows the recovery will be a long process, but says he is simply blessed.

“I know I couldn't have survived like he did,” said his father. “I know it’s by the grace of God where the knife bounced off his neck. There’s a wave of gratitude he is still with us."

It’s Malakai's strength that is perhaps the most amazing.

“Sometimes I use it as a motivation to pull my through," said Bohannon. “'You were attacked but what can you do? You push through it and now you know that you can do anything that you made it through this.'”

Malakai's dad says his brother-in-law Michael Tagalog suffered from mental health issues for years, and he and his wife took him in to live with them.

He says Tagalog had never before shown any violent tendencies.

Tomorrow, 39-year-old Michael Tagalog will be arraigned on two felony assault charges in connection with the attack.

Click here to donate to Malakai's GoFundMe page.

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