MOORE, Okla. – A Moore couple is looking for the public’s help in finding their stolen family car, inside – medical devices needed to take care of their young daughter with a potentially deadly genetic disease.
Clinton and Shanna Culbertson said they woke up Saturday, March 23, and realized something was amiss when Shanna walked outside to run an errand.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! Where is my car?’ It’s almost like that feeling when you forget where you parked. But it wasn’t in the garage, it wasn’t in the driveway, it wasn’t down the street.”
Shanna and Clinton said they normally park the white Chevrolet Equinox inside the garage, but had come home late the previous night and left it outside. Clinton’s truck was also burglarized and the couple believes the thief, or thieves, found a spare car key inside the truck which allowed them to drive Shanna’s SUV away.
Now the couple is hoping someone spots the car, which has a “Cure SMA” sticker on the rear window and a pink John Deer license plate cover on the front.
“It was just that one time we didn’t park in the garage and now it’s gone,” said Shanna.
Also gone in the car theft were medical devices, special strollers and new car seat to care for their 14-month-old daughter, Makynlee. Makynlee has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, a genetic disorder that affects a person’s motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, making normal life nearly impossible. Makynlee needs virtually constant attention because of the disease, requiring special machines to help her breathe, monitor her heart, and a suction machine to clear her mouth of saliva.
Shanna said a special orthotic device to safely prop Makynlee up, as she doesn’t have the strength to do so on her own, two strollers to carry various machines Makynlee needs and that allow her to lie flat on her back, and a special reclining-style child safety seat were inside the car. A spare oxygen tank was also inside. Thankfully the machines they need to take care of Makynlee were inside the home and not the car, but Shanna the theft has left their family in a difficult situation.
“It’s a huge setback, for us, we can’t go to appointments. Doctors appointments this week I’ve had to reschedule because I don’t have a stroller to take all of the stuff we need to take with her,” said Shanna. “Every day we use that stuff. We can’t get out of the house without it. She can’t sit up on her own. I can’t go to the grocery store with her because she can’t sit in a shopping cart.”
The couple, who also has a 7-year-old son, said that insurance should hopefully cover the cost of paying off the car loan on the stolen vehicle, but is unsure how they will be able to afford replacing the roughly $1,500 in equipment stolen along with it. Shanna, who works part-time in the medical field, said she’s been unable to work since last month after Makynlee stopped breathing, went into cardiac arrest and spent a number of days in the hospital.
The couple has filed a report with Moore police regarding the car theft and burglary, and reports with Oklahoma City and Del City Police after the thief – or thieves – used the couple’s credit cards at various stores in the metro the morning of the theft.
“I’m trying my hardest to get the stuff back,” Shanna said. “But I really don’t have a whole lot of hope.”