• Family makes emotional plea after daughter's wheelchair disappears

    By: Drew Karedes

    Updated:

    BRIGHTON, Mass. - A Brighton family is issuing a desperate plea after their little girl's wheelchair disappeared from their driveway.

    The 6-year-old girl with special needs depends on her customized wheelchair to get around, and her parents believe it could be months before they replace it.

    The family keeps the wheelchair in the driveway because it's difficult to carry up and down the stairs. 

    They say they're not sure why someone would take it, but they want the thief to know just how much this is already impacting their child's life.

    "She's pretty much stuck, she's big, she's heavy, we have to carry her everywhere," said Gabriella Rodriguez, the girl's mother.

    Rodriguez has been carrying her daughter, Maliyah around since her wheelchair mysteriously vanished on Friday.

    "I panicked because it's the only thing she has to get around," said Rodriguez.

    Maliyah suffered brain damage during a traumatic birth and isn't able to walk on her own. Her grandmother and the rest of the family are struggling to understand why someone would take the little girl's only source of mobility.

    “It’s horrible not only is it a wheelchair it’s a child’s wheelchair," said Marina Rodriguez, Maliyah's grandmother. "For someone to come onto our property and take it is disgusting."

    Maliyah's father believes whoever took the wheelchair did so intentionally, but perhaps didn't realize how much it means to his child.

    “You don’t have to say anything, I don’t care if its in the middle of the night - just give it back, we just want it back," said Keith Roberts, Maliyah's father. "That way I don’t have to go through the hassle of getting a new one."

    The family says it could take up to six months and could potentially cost them thousands of dollars, even after insurance.

    Without it, her parents don't think she'll be able to attend summer camp this week. 

    "We will not press charges, no questions asked, just bring the wheelchair back," said Marina.

    A report has been filed with police.

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