Parents distraught after son dies from rabid bat

A 6-year-old boy’s life was cut short, after he was bitten by a rabid bat. Ryker Roque passed away on Sunday, two weeks after the incident.

“He was the coolest kid. He loved to play, and he had so many friends," said Michelle Roque, Ryker’s mother.  "All his friends loved him.”  

“I told him miracles happen every day, miracles happen every day. 'Ryker, wake up please!' shaking him, shaking him,” explained Henry Roque, Ryker’s father.

Parents Henry and Michelle Roque said Henry found the bat in some woods off of U.S. Highway 441 in Eustis, Florida.   He wanted to show the bat to his son, who was always outdoors and loved nature.

“He always told his dad he wanted a bat, he wanted to see a bat, and when my husband found the bat, he was so excited," Michelle said. "My husband knows everything about nature, but he did not know that bats carry rabies.  He didn’t know,.  He would have never brought that bat home if he’d known that,” said Roque.

Unaware of the possible danger, he brought the bat to their Eustis home, keeping it on the porch in a bucket, feeding it milk from a bottle. 

“We didn’t let Ryker touch it.  He said, 'Ryker, don’t you touch that!' and then right when Henry said don’t touch it, behind his back, he put his hand in the bucket,” Michelle said.

She thought her son had just been scratched, so she ran his hand under hot water for five minutes. She said her son was acting normal, but two weeks later things went downhill.

“He started experiencing these symptoms -- first, his hand was numb, and then two hours later, he started going like this, spasming out, and then a little bit later, he couldn’t walk,” she said.

She rushed him to the hospital, where it was confirmed that he had rabies, and had in fact, been bitten by the bat.  Doctors tried an experimental treatment to try and save his life, but after two weeks in the hospital, little Ryker passed away.

Ryker was a first grader at Altoona Charter School.  The Lake County Sheriff’s Office sent deputies to the boy’s home while he was in the hospital, to quarantine the dog and cat from possible exposure to rabies, but say they are not pursuing any further investigation.