DENVER (CBS4)– A toddler born with a rare genetic defect needs her wheelchair to get around but now she’s left without. When thieves took off with her family’s SUV her wheelchair was inside. The vehicle was found but the wheelchair is missing.
Kiara Palacio has had to carry her 2-year-old daughter, Heidi, around for the past two weeks. That’s how long it’s been since thieves stole her family’s vehicle with the wheelchair inside.
“She wants to be with me all the time. She won’t sit by her own,” said Palacio.
The stolen SUV has been located but the wheelchair was not inside.
Heidi was born with spina bifida, a birth defect in which the bones of the spine (vertebrae) do not form properly around the spinal cord. In Heidi it affects her lower body.
She wears a corrective boot on her right foot. To get around, Heidi uses a custom-made wheelchair for her small size.
Palacio’s SUV was stolen May 2 from where it was parked in front of her home. Police found it two days later but the wheelchair was gone.
Insurance paid more than $5,000 for the one-of-a-kind wheelchair.
“Why would they steal this? Something she needs?” asked Palacio.
Palacio is waiting for a replacement but she said it won’t be the same.
It could also take more than three months for the chair to be ordered and delivered.
Heidi doesn’t understand why her wheelchair is missing.
“A couple of days ago we were outside and she’s like, ‘Mom, bring my chair.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t have your chair,'” said Palacio.
She doesn’t know who stole her vehicle or who might have thought they could get a profit from a tiny wheelchair that’s worthless to everyone except her daughter.
Until Heidi’s chair is found or a new one is delivered, getting around will be limited to the toddler.