Thief takes laptop, steals voice from girl with special needs

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department is asking someone who stole a laptop Wednesday night to come forward.

The laptop belongs to Layne Barlow, 14, from Anderson County.

Born with a rare condition, similar to cerebral palsy, she hasn’t ever been able to walk or talk.

Her family says she lives a normal life with help from her Tobii Dynavox. It’s a speech generator, similar to a laptop, equipped with eye-scanning technology.

Layne is able to use her eyes to guide the device’s cursor to what she wants to say, then it speaks for her.

Now, her voice is gone. Someone took the computer from the family’s van while they were attending service at Cornerstone Church of the Nazarene, near Frankfort.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton says he finds this crime appalling.

If the computer isn’t found, the sheriff says it will cost $17 thousand to replace it. Aside from the hefty price tag, it’s more than just a piece of technology.

“You might just see it as a laptop, but as you can see, now we have taken away from her the ability to communicate with her peers and with us and her teachers,” said Layne’s grandfather Marvin Barlow.

Sheriff Melton says if whoever is responsible brings the device to his office soon, he will let them go with “no questions asked.”

“If you walk it in this office right now, no one is going to say a word to you. I can promise you that,” said Sheriff Melton. “I want it back so Layne can get on with her life and learn and have quality of life like everybody else has.”

If the device isn’t turned in, Sheriff Melton assures that he will find the person, or persons, who took it.

Anyone with any information regarding the stolen computer is asked to call the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at (502) 564-7383.

Categories: Local News, News

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