Four-year-old Kinsley suffered from a serious hearing loss when she was born and lost the rest of her hearing 18 months later.
She was later fitted with a cochlear implant, an electronic device that provides signals to the brain to replace the function of a damaged inner ear. The youngster relies on two units attached to her head that receive signals from a speech processor and send them to regions of the auditory nerve.
Kinsley lost one of one the units, worth tens of thousands of dollars, last week when her family’s 2014 Chevy Traverse SUV was stolen from outside their home in the 9500 block of West Jadewood Drive in South Boise.
“Our daughter’s upset because she can’t tell you what’s going on in the world because her ‘ear’ was in the car,” mother Alexandria Music said. “As a deaf child with special needs, she doesn’t understand why it’s gone and why we can’t get it back.”
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The family celebrated New Year’s by watching the ball drop from Times Square in New York City on television. Two or three minutes after 2015 morphed into 2016, a relative noticed the white SUV was no longer sitting in the driveway.
The vehicle has an alarm, but it doesn’t work all the time. It’s possible it went off but the family didn’t hear it because of loud sounds in the neighborhood.
“There were a lot of fireworks going off,” Music said. “Maybe they waited until midnight, knowing there would be noise then.”
A neighbor later reported seeing a white SUV tear out of the neighborhood heading toward South Five Mile Road, but the neighbor didn’t realize it was Music’s vehicle until later.
About 15 minutes before midnight, Music went out to the driveway to get a lottery ticket that was in the SUV, she said. She remembers locking the vehicle.
The Ada County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the theft, is asking for the public’s help in finding out who stole the vehicle and in recovering Kinsley’s cochlear implant. Anyone with information is asked to call Ada County dispatchers at 377-6790.
“We haven’t had any leads,” Music said. “We hope someone who knows something will call the police and let them know.”
The implant has a round purple plastic connector that attaches to the girl’s head, an 18-inch black cord and a pink processor unit that is the size of a pager.
Also in the SUV were several jackets belonging to the family, plus snow boots, car seats and Christmas toys the children got to use for less than a week.
The four-door white SUV has black side mirrors and black rubber strips toward the bottom of the doors. There is also a large decal on the back window showing stick figures representing the family’s seven children plus Music and her partner, Mike Dorris.
Somer, 16, is represented with a ponytail, Ashlee, 13, has a basketball in her hand, Kayla, 11, is a ballerina, Nathan, 10, is a basketball player, twins Kinsley and Kora have teddy bears, while 2-year-old Krew is depicted with a wagon. Music and Dorris have “No. 1” on their chests.
The SUV has an On-Star tracking system, but Music hadn’t subscribed to the service. When she called the company, she was told they couldn’t help her since she hadn’t activated the system.
Music and Dorris say they have not slept well since the theft.
“I’ve lost sleep over this,” Dorris said. “Every time I hear a noise, I wonder if the thief has returned.”