12/26/2014 12:13 EST | Updated 02/25/2015 05:59 EST

First Nation Girl, 6, Now Conscious After Brutal Beating

The six-year-old Alberta girl who was nearly beaten to death on the Paul Band First Nation awoke on Christmas Day and asked for Santa Claus, family members say. 

The girl had been unconscious since she was found lying naked and severely injured on the reserve west of Edmonton on Dec 20.

More than 100 people from Paul Band huddled together on Christmas Day near the property where the girl was found to hold a candlelight vigil to pray for her recovery. Members of the girl's family sang through their tears, asking the Creator to watch over her.

Elder Kirby Bird told the group that their prayers were being answered.

“The prayers that you have been doing over these past couple of days has brought the spirit back in [the little girl],” he said.

“Just the other day, when I was there, I could see the beauty in her face and the glow.”

A family member said the girl is still a long way from recovery, but her smile is encouraging.

James Clifford Paul, 21, is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted murder.

He's set for a court appearance Jan. 7. 


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