Kayla's mom, Melody, says this tragedy can teach all parents a lifesaving lesson—trust your instincts. "Something in my heart was telling me, 'Don't let her go,'" she says. "It was an instinct, and I should have went with that instinct."

Although she knew Carmen's ex-boyfriend, Melody says she never spoke to Carmen until she called to invite Kayla to the slumber party. "So I told her: 'I don't know. I'll call you back,'" she says. "She goes: 'Please call me back because I love Kayla. She's a wonderful girl. She will be in great hands. Don't worry about her.' She was very sincere over the phone with me."

The first night of the sleepover, Melody says Kayla was late because she was still unsure about letting her go. "The next thing you know, I almost lost my daughter," she says. "I just can't believe it."


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