Generator stolen from home of infant dialysis patient
While some people purchase generators to increase their comfort level during power outages, this isn't the case with the family of Jerred and Alexis McDade in Tull.
The generator the McDades have had at their home is needed to keep their seven-month-old son alive.
Dexter McDade was born June 19, 2012, with a rare kidney condition that eventually will necessitate a kidney transplant. A short time after his birth, cancer was diagnosed in one kidney and both of his kidneys were removed. He currently is undergoing chemotherapy and requires 11 hours of dialysis every night, according to his father.
The generator at the McDade home — which is back in place — was stolen from the residence Wednesday afternoon and the person accused of stealing the apparatus is now housed at the Saline County Detention Center.
Donald Higgins, 35, a resident of Gray Street in Benton, is in custody on theft and public intoxication charges and also is being held on a warrants charge, according to Sheriff Bruce Pennington.
The sheriff noted that Higgins drove himself to the jail after allegedly committing the theft at the McDade home.
According to a witness to the theft, Higgins drove onto the McDade property, got out out of his car, waved at a neighbor and walked behind the house.
Jerred McDade said the neighbor told him the man picked up the generator, put it in his car, backed out and then waved at the neighbor again. "He said he acted like he belonged there and wasn't acting suspicious. The neighbor said he thought maybe we had borrowed the generator and he was picking it up."
After leaving the McDade home, Higgins reportedly drove to the Saline County Detention Center.
"He came into the sheriff's office and said he wanted to talk to CID detectives about the murders in Traskwood," Pennington said. "He was drunk.
"The detectives asked his date of birth and discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest," he said. "At that point they charged him with public intoxication and held him on the warrant."
In the meantime, the sheriff's office already had been alerted had been informed of Higgins' description by the neighbor who said he witnessed the theft.
"They knew from the description of the vehicle they were looking for that it was on the parking lot at the jail and inside it were two generators, both of which were stolen. The vehicle also was stolen out of Benton.
"So this guy drove a stolen vehicle carrying two generators to the sheriff's office," Pennington added.
"The vehicle had been abandoned because of the storm," the sheriff explained. "The keys were inside the vehicle and power lines were down across it. Inside the glove box was the owner's identification."
Pennington said McDade came to the sheriff's office to pick up the generator. "He got the generator, it's back home, the thief is in jail and all is good."
When word of the generator theft was made known, the McDades received many offers for help, Jerred McDade said. "Some people offered to buy one for us and others were starting a fund to buy a new generator," he said. "We weren't asking anyone for help. My main concern was to find the guy who took our generator and get it back.
"People from all over the state were willing to help out when they found out we had a need," he said."I think God had a hand in the guy getting stopped and the way it went down.
"And what happened is that it added several thousand more people to the list of people who are praying for Dex."
He said his son is "doing wonderful."
"He has had 10 chemo treatments now and has nine more to go in nine weeks," he said. "When he's around 2 or 2 1/2 or at least the size of a child that age, he will need a donor kidney.
"He'll be a little small for his age for a while, but there's nothing wrong with that," he added.
The McDade family also includes two daughters, Gracie and Jadyn.