Cincinnati girl's wheelchair stolen from her yard, family says

Updated: Dec. 8, 2017 at 8:28 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A North Fairmount mother is searching for answers after her 6-year-old's wheelchair was stolen from the family's front yard.

Austyn was born with spina bifida and is unable to walk. The $9,000 wheelchair is her only form of transportation when she's outside the house.

"To them it's an object," said Austyn's mother, Casey Hamilton. "To her that's her life, that's her legs, that's how she goes out and does stuff."

The theft happened Thursday while the wheelchair was sitting unaccompanied for just a short period of time.

Austyn's medical aide typically walks the wheelchair down the driveway and into the front yard before the school bus arrives. On Thursday morning, the bus that arrived was not equipped to load the wheelchair, so a family member carried Austyn back inside the home around 9 a.m.

Meanwhile, the wheelchair remained outside as they waited for a new bus to arrive.

When a second bus arrived to the Hamilton's home, the wheelchair was gone.

Hamilton said the theft happened within a 40-minute period as Austyn waited for her second bus.

"I've prayed for whoever took that because you've got to be pretty low to take a kids wheelchair," said Hamilton. "…you clearly need some help."

Hamilton said the wheelchair is essential to her daughter's mobility and freedom. Without it, Austyn will not be able to attend school without it.

The chair is valued at almost $9,000 and the family says much of the community has been generous in helping them find work out temporary fix. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help buy a new wheelchair.

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