LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - Gary Heim welcomed 41 Action News onto his property on Friday to relive a nightmare.
Less than 24 hours earlier, Heim found his 10-year-old daughter trapped face down in their pond .
“When I got here to the crest of the dam, I seen her. The four wheeler lying in the water on its driver’s side,” he remembered sadly.
The Kubota RTV 400 Shelbee Heim had been driving had rolled and now weighed down on her in the pond.
Heim felt helpless. The more than 1,200 pound vehicle was too much for him to lift by himself.
“My little girl is my little girl. I'll never forget her and will think about her every day for a long time,” he said.
Shelbee was going to start fifth grade at Salt Creek Valley School in August. Her father told 41 Action News she loved playing softball and 4-H activities. He called Shelbee his ‘pride and joy.'
Shelbee is survived by her father, mother and 14-year-old sister.
He encourages other parents who allow their children to ride and drive four wheelers to stress safety.
Heim offered some tips.
“The ground underneath you, you need to be on solid ground," he said. "You need to be on ground that's wide enough that all four wheels, that it's safe you know up and down.”
Shelbee and Heim had just conversed about safety on Wednesday night.
“And, I said, now honey, these things aren't meant to see how fast they can go. Safety is the number one thing,” he remembered. “You make sure when you drive this thing, you have your safety belt on because if it ever turned over, it'd probably kill you. And I said, ‘Daddy doesn't need to lose his little girl’.”
The almost 60-day drought has hurt his cattle and crops. So, the family worries they won’t have enough money to pay for a funeral for Shelbee. A memorial fund has been set up in Easton, Kansas to help with the costs.
Exchange National Bank
Memorial Account: Shelbee Heim
PO Box 158
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