Car theft at Rady's baffles parents: Victims' 2-year-old daughter undergoing stem cell transplant

Car stolen from lot under Ronald McDonald House

SAN DIEGO - The family of a North County couple, who remain at the bedside of their ailing 2-year-old daughter, contacted 10News after their car was stolen at Rady Children's Hospital.

Their daughter Avery has spent more than a year in and out of Rady's. Avery's father says he knows he parked his car in a specific spot. They always leave their white 4-door Honda Civic against a parking structure wall overlooking the freeway.

"I walked up and down this whole row," said Peter Hanel, Avery's father. "No car to be found."

There was also no sign of glass on the ground and he was informed that it was not towed.

But sometime overnight Thursday, Avery's parents' car was stolen from the parking lot underneath the Ronald McDonald House, where they are staying.

It is an act that leaves them unable to comprehend.

"It makes me sick. It really does," said Alexandrea Upton, Avery's mother. "Out of all places and of all cars… they chose this one…and it was full of toys."

The toys were given to Avery to help her in her recovery. Their daughter has what is called JMML. It's a rare type of leukemia where blood cells do not produce mature cells needed for growth.

At 2 and a half, she has undergone more than 200 blood and platelet transfusions. She just finished a stem cell transplant from Australia.

"She's fighting," added Upton. "She's fighting really hard."

They said this act has left them baffled.

"If you had your children's stuff, your child going through a traumatic time, how would you feel if someone came and ripped that from your hands?" said Hanel.

Upton said, "Hopefully… whoever gets what they deserve."

10News contacted Rady Children's Hospital. They call this an unfortunate incident and are working with the family to resolve the issue, including looking at the overnight surveillance video.

10News learned the car was located early Saturday in one of the parking structures in the Fashion Valley Mall. All of the toys and Avery's car seat were gone, but the car is still in operating condition.

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