ALBANY, Minn. (KMSP) - A Becker, Minnesota family is looking for answers after a $12,000 wheelchair belonging to a six-year-old boy with cerebral palsy went missing from the back of his father’s pickup truck somewhere in Stearns County over the weekend.
Tyce Sauter was born prematurely at 29 weeks with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, a condition that requires an expensive, specially-fitted wheelchair for him to function at his best.
“It’s built just to his size and he has custom seating because he has low tone in his torso,” Tyce’s mom, Kristi Sauter, said. “It has to support his neck and torso.”
The family believes the wheelchair was went missing from the pickup truck somewhere between Sauk Centre and Albany.
“I cried all day yesterday,” Kristi said. “I was upset, very upset. [I’m] getting broken up now. For someone to do that, it just breaks my heart when someone messes with an innocent child.”
Albany police are investigating the alleged theft, but they are also leaving open the possibility that the wheelchair bounced out of the truck along his route from Sauk Centre.
In the meantime, Tyce will use this 300-pound backup wheelchair, which is much more difficult to transport than his 22-pound blue Quickie Zippie Zone chair.
The family turned to Facebook on Sunday to get the story out there and hopefully locate the missing wheelchair. Their post has now been shared more than 5,000 times in 24 hours.
“Social media has been awesome for so many to find missing things, this is small town, let’s throw it out there. Maybe someone saw something and have it returned. But, no such luck,” Kristi said.