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‘It’s so inhumane,’ mom says after son’s custom wheelchair stolen from van in Texas

County commissioner helps raise money for wheelchair van

Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell is helping Melody and Ed Hunter get a new wheelchair van to help transport their 22-year-old son John. Howell has set up a GoFundMe account to replace the 22-year-old van.
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Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell is helping Melody and Ed Hunter get a new wheelchair van to help transport their 22-year-old son John. Howell has set up a GoFundMe account to replace the 22-year-old van.

A mother in Houston says thieves stole her 5-year-old son’s custom wheelchair from a van outside their family home, but she doesn’t want them punished. She just wants the wheelchair back.

Tuesday morning, Krystal Gonzalez noticed all the doors were open to the family van, KTRK reported. When she checked the trunk, she discovered the wheelchair belonging to her son, Christian, was missing.

“He loves his wheelchair,” she said, according to KPRC. “I feel more secure when he is in his wheelchair because he is unaware of his surroundings, the wheelchair grips him and it gives him a sense of security.”

Christian has microdeletion syndrome which renders him immobile, KRIV reported. Microdeletion syndrome is caused by “the deletion of several genes on chromosome 15,” and symptoms can include physical and intellectual disabilities, according to the National Institute of Health.

Christian’s wheelchair is his primary means of mobility and cost more than $6,000, KRIV reported.

“I won’t press charges. I’m not looking to get back at anybody or anything like that,” Gonzalez said, according to the TV station. “I just want my son’s chair. No questions asked.”

Gonzalez says her security cameras captured the thief near the van, KPRC reported, and her neighbor’s cameras caught video of the getaway car, according to a post on Gonzalez’s Facebook page.

Along with the wheelchair, two car seats and her daughter’s stroller were also taken, the post said.

“I am so heartbroken that someone would see profit off of something obviously so special and important to my [boy’s] mobility,” the post said. “That is the only way we’re able to get him around.”

The family was saving to install a ramp for their home, but having to replace the wheelchair would delay their plans, KTRK reported.

“They’re pigs,” Gonzalez said, according to the TV station. “They’re disgusting to me. I mean, it’s so inhumane. All of these things for a child, and you have no regard for anybody’s personal property.”

A GoFundMe account set up to help the family replace Christian’s chair raised more than $6,000 in 19 hours.

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Dawson covers goings-on across the central region, from breaking to bizarre. She is an MSt candidate at the University of Cambridge and lives in Kansas City.
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