Disabled boy's wheelchair stolen from Horn Lake hotel

By Jason Miles - bio | email

HORN LAKE, MS (WMC-TV) - 10-year-old Braden Evans has a limited vocabulary, and is unable to walk five years after suffering a series of debilitating seizures.

"It killed the whole right side of his brain, basically," his mother, Jeri Evans, explained Tuesday.

But no words were necessary when Braden and his mother learned his custom-made wheelchair was found, two weeks after disappearing.

"He can get around pretty good around the house, but getting out has been impossible,"Evans said. "So, it's a burden."

Braden's wheelchair was snatched from the lobby of the Drury Inn in Horn Lake, where the Olive Branch family spent a few days.

"Just a little get away to break the monotony of being at home," Evans said.  

Evans left $5,000 wheelchair in an area she thought was safe while the family ran a few errands.

"A lady had apparently seen it where it was sitting and decided she was going to claim it as her own," she said.  "I even thought, 'nobody's gonna bother it,' and I came back and it was gone."

Horn Lake Police finally tracked down a suspect and the wheelchair in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, using surveillance video and the hotel's registry.

"I think it's very bad she would take something like that didn't belong to her," Evans said.

Police are not sure about the woman's motive, but Braden's mother hopes she would have reconsidered the crime if she had known to whom the wheelchair belonged.

The hotel offered to pay to have the wheelchair shipped back to Olive Branch.  However, a local judge happens to be attending a conference on the coast and agreed to bring it back.

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