Delaware

Girl With Cerebral Palsy Gets New Walker, Mom Forgives and Believes Suspects Who Claimed Theft Was Honest Mistake

The girl's mom says she now forgives and believes the two theft suspects who apologized but claimed they mistakenly thought the walker was trash.

Nearly two weeks after her critically-needed walker was taken from her front yard and scrapped, a Delaware girl with cerebral palsy received a new walker from a local children's hospital.

NBC10 was there Monday as Kirsten "Kiki" Edwards-Alexander tried out her brand new walker donated to her by A.I. duPont Hospital for Children.

"I feel fine now," the 10-year-old girl said.

Kiki recently spent months in the hospital after having her hamstrings lengthened and a bone removed from her foot. She needed to use a walker to get around and stretch out her muscles.

On Nov. 30, Kiki's mother Brittany Murray placed her daughter in her car outside their home in Wilmington, Delaware but accidentally left the walker in the front yard. While they were gone, surveillance video from a neighbor captured two men taking the walker, loading it into a truck and driving away. Police say the men later crushed and scrapped it.

Police identified the men as Donald Cale, 49, and Leland Watson, 51. Both men were arrested and charged with felony theft and conspiracy. Watson was also charged with possession of heroin.

Without her walker, Kiki was forced to use a wheelchair but was unable to stretch her legs out. She then used a walker loaned to them by her neighbor but it didn't have the custom features she needed. After receiving an outpouring of support and offers to help buy a new one from people around the region, Kiki got a brand new walker from A.I. duPont.

"We were honestly really blessed," Murray said. "They've always had our backs since the time she came in to have surgery."

Before they were arrested, both Cale and Watson visited Murray and apologized.

"I'm very sorry for the way it looks," Cale told NBC10. "But no, it's not the way it was intended to be at all."

Cale insisted it was an honest mistake and that he and Watson thought the walker was trash.

"If we knew that it was usable, we would not have touched it or nothing like that, period," Cale said. "We did not mean to bother you people or nothing like that. We are sorry. We're sorry."

Murray initially told NBC10 she didn't believe Cale's story. She said the walker wasn't at the curb like most trash but instead was halfway up the driveway. She also said the men never knocked on the door before taking it.

"You're not going to sit and tell me the fact that you can feel as though it was scrap when it's a shiny blue little thing," Murray said last week.

Yet Murray appeared to have a change of heart when she spoke with NBC10 again Monday after her daughter received a new walker.

"I honestly from my heart, I feel as though it was an honest mistake," Murray said. 

Murray also said she hopes the charges against the two men will be reduced or even dropped.

"I would hope nobody would get jail time from this," Murray said. "Some people may feel as though I should let them keep going with the charges but I don't feel as though it's that serious. It's a holiday time getting ready to come up. Luckily she was blessed enough to get a walker so fast."

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Leland Watson (left) and Donald Cale (right) are accused of stealing 10-year-old Kirsten Edwards' specialty walker and scrapping it.
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