Thief swipes iPad that Independence girl with rare genetic disorder uses to communicate with family

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Police are investigating after somebody stole an iPad from a girl with a rare genetic disorder who depends on the tablet to communicate with family. Family said Olive cannot speak but uses a software that allows her to point to things on the iPad that she needs or wants.

“She gets very frustrated that she can’t speak, very frustrated,” said the girl’s father.

Brent Bruders said someone broke into his car that was parked at his Independence home. He said they stole his daughter’s backpack that contained the iPad. Bruders said he clicked his lock button on his keychain but realized the next morning the clicker was dead, and the doors never locked.

“It’s the only way she has to communicate with me, with her family and with her peers and with her therapist,” he told FOX 4. “Without it, that communication is lost.”

Bruders said his daughter has a rare genetic disorder known as a DYRK1A gene mutation. He said she attends therapy at Family First 40 hours a week.

“I have to figure out what I am going to do and how I am going to get another one,” he said.

Bruders said Variety Children’s Charity in Kansas City gave his daughter the iPad around a year ago. He said his daughter knows very limited sign language.

“It’s just sad and shame on the people who did this, to take a little girl’s backpack knowing she was going to wake up and go to school in the morning,” he said.

He said the iPad pinged to a home along 40 Highway, but when police arrived to check it out the home owner knew nothing about it. She said she had been letting a homeless person stay with her and didn’t know where they were.

Bruders said a neighbor told him he saw two men walking down their street around 3 a.m. with a bag and a rolling suitcase and he thinks they might be the people who did it.

If you have any information call the Independence Police Department or TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.

A GoFundMe has been set up to try and raise money for a new iPad.