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Teen with cystic fibrosis has breathing machine stolen—days later it’s returned, but is it too late?


On July 12, Mary Gonsalves posted on Facebook that her children’s father’s home was burglarized. In addition to laptops and passports being removed from the Apple Valley, California home, Mary’s 14-year-old daughter’s breathing machine was also taken.

The teen has cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic condition that causes thick mucus to build up in her lungs. The machine helped her breathe.

“Without this machine, her life expectancy and quality of life are greatly diminished,” her mother wrote.

Both of Allissa’s parents pleaded for the suspects to return the machine, and both of their posts were shared hundreds of times on Facebook.

FRIENDS!! PLEASE SHARE!Today 7/12/19 Buddy, my children’s dad, had his house broken into. Among the laptops, passports…

Posted by Mary Gonsalves on Friday, 12 July 2019

A few days after Allissa’s breathing machine was stolen Mary received a “strange” message from a woman on Facebook who claimed to have her daughter’s expensive machine. The woman asked Mary to meet her so she could return it, but when Mary and a deputy went to meet the woman, she didn’t show up.

Mary and the deputy searched the area, but didn’t find anything.

FRIENDS!! PLEASE SHARE!Today 7/12/19 Buddy, my children’s dad, had his house broken into. Among the laptops, passports…

Posted by Mary Gonsalves on Friday, 12 July 2019

The following day police received a call about possible stolen property. The caller reportedly said they had two small suitcases that were thrown out a vehicle.

Police investigated and learned from markings on the case that they belonged to Allissa.

“ALLISSA’S VEST HAS BEEN FOUND!!!” Mary wrote on Facebook. “We are so grateful and overjoyed at this!”

FRIENDS!! PLEASE SHARE!Today 7/12/19 Buddy, my children’s dad, had his house broken into. Among the laptops, passports…

Posted by Mary Gonsalves on Friday, 12 July 2019

The suspect(s) are still at large, but Mary said the police are going “above and beyond” to find whoever stole her daughter’s breathing equipment.

While the family is overwhelmed with joy that Allissa’s machine has been found and returned, they are worried that it might be too late.

“We ask that you continue your prayers as Allissa’s health has declined,” Mary wrote. “We pray that the time without her treatments hasn’t affected her lungs too severely.”

The 14-year-old will visit her team of specialists to determine her next course of action.

FRIENDS!! PLEASE SHARE!Today 7/12/19 Buddy, my children’s dad, had his house broken into. Among the laptops, passports…

Posted by Mary Gonsalves on Friday, 12 July 2019

The family also stated that they would be issuing refunds to everyone who donated to their GoFundMe, though many who donated have left comments asking the family to keep the money and use it towards a gift for Allissa or other unexpected expenses.

If you have any information about this investigation, the Victorville Police Department urge you to contact Deputy J. Carroll or Deputy M. Lee at (760) 241-2911.

This is absolutely horrible.

Share this on Facebook so the criminal who stole this teen’s breathing machine is captured.