Metro-East News

Belleville boy to get new prosthetic leg to replace the one stolen in car break-in

Belleville boy’s prosthetic leg stolen

A prosthetic leg was inside a black backpack ripped off from Brie Rainey’s unlocked car parked off Belle Valley Drive in Southern Illinois. The device is for her son, Josiah.
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A prosthetic leg was inside a black backpack ripped off from Brie Rainey’s unlocked car parked off Belle Valley Drive in Southern Illinois. The device is for her son, Josiah.

The 3-year-old Belleville boy whose prosthetic leg was stolen in a car break-in last week is expected to get a replacement prosthetic in a week.

Josiah Rainey, was fitted for a new prosthetic Monday at Shriners Hospitals for Children in St. Louis.

“We’re thrilled, of course, that Shriners very promptly acted on what Josiah needed,” said Josiah’s grandmother, Karen Frey Stephens.

Tammy Robbins, a spokeswoman for Shriners, said the leg costs just over $10,000, but Josiah will get his new one for free in a week.

“This is how we treat our patients at Shriners, regardless of their ability to pay, we want them to get the best pediatric care they can get,” Robbins said.

The hospital found out about the missing leg from media reports and reached out to the family on Friday, before the family even called them, Robbins said.

Stephens said Josiah had to wait three months for his last prosthetic.

As of Monday, three other companies have volunteered to get Josiah a new prosthetic, including a “blade” type that allows people to run with a prosthetic leg, but Stephens said the family was excited to return to Shriners and that Josiah is not quite ready for the blade type.

“Shriners knows Josiah, knows him well and they’ve already made one for him so they wanted to make sure to get another one made as soon as possible so we … have as little down time as possible,” Stephens said.

Josiah needs the prosthetic for his left leg because he was born with “VACTERL, a rare disorder that affects multiple body systems. VACTERL is an acronym for vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, tracheo-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies and limb abnormalities,” according to the GoFundMe page established for Josiah.

The stolen prosthetic was in a black backpack that Brie Rainey, Josiah’s mother, said was stolen from her unlocked car off Belle Valley Drive in Belleville sometime late Thursday or early Friday.

Belleville police Capt. Mark Heffernan said that the investigation remains active and the department has received tips from the public. He said anyone with information can call the department at 618-234-1212.

Stephens said on Saturday that family members had searched roadsides and trash bins to see if the thief had dumped the backpack.

Rainey’s driver’s license and credit cards were found by a pedestrian at the intersection of Green Mount Road and Lebanon Avenue but the backpack was not found.

Stephens said she and her family have been overwhelmed by the support they have received.

“We feel very blessed,” she said.

Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.
Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and grew up in St. Louis.