• Local family looking for answers after van stolen outside Boston emergency room

    By: Julie Leonardi

    Updated:

    MALDEN, Mass. - A Malden family is struggling to get by without means of transportation after their van was stolen while the couple was visiting the ER. The vehicle is one they rely on daily to bring their son, who is paralyzed, to medical appointments.

    The couple's van was parked outside the Beth Israel ER when they reported it stolen. Now, more than a week later, they’re finding it difficult to live day to day life without it. 

    "It wasn't just that we lost a car, it affected the whole family," said Paula Beaton. 

    Paula and John Beaton both live with disabilities. Paula suffers from a rare neuromuscular disease while John is a handicapped Vietnam War veteran. The two also take care of their paralyzed son, who relies on transportation to and from weekly hospital visits.

    "My main thought was my son," Paula said. "I know that's what we'll be using with him. And he has a lot of appointments. Between all of us, we're back and forth to hospitals [and] doctors."

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    John brought Paula to Beth Israel's emergency room last week. After spending hours by her side, he returned to the street to find his car missing.

    "We had all these Vietnam stickers on the back, so I was thinking, somebody with a little thought maybe wouldn’t have taken that car knowing it’s for a handicap person and a Vietnam vet," John said.

    The car didn't turn up in any tow lots, so John finally reported it stolen to police. 

    "Whatever they wanted to do, get money for parts, whatever his choice at the time was. Probably didn't mean that much to him, but it meant a lot to us," he said.

    While the family filed an insurance claim, they're concerned the money won’t be enough for a van. The family needs a larger vehicle to fit their son's electric wheelchair, so he won’t feel pain during travel. 

    The family says they've heard nothing from police and assume the van is gone. A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family. 

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