Tony Shin

Thieves Steal Identity of Woman Paralyzed in Car Wreck

"They don't deserve to be on the same planet as my wife," the victim's husband said.

It's a crime that's creating tremendous outrage in the Inland Empire.

Riverside Police have released surveillance photos of a woman who is accused of using stolen credit cards. Those credit cards came from a purse that was stolen from the passenger seat of a wrecked car, moments after the collision, as a severely-injured woman sat in the driver's seat. Now the victim's husband is asking for help finding the suspects who stole his wife's identity.

Donald Nelson remembers his wife Terri as the love of his life.

"There's always somebody in the family who is the glue that holds everything together. That was her," he said.

Terri Nelson, a 64-year-old mother of four died on Nov. 1 from severe injuries she sustained when her car was rear-ended in August near the intersection of Trautwein Road and Van Buren Boulevard.

"She was paralyzed from the neck down," Nelson said.

In the moments immediately following the crash, as Terri sat motionless, a man came to the car and opened the passenger door, a witness told Nelson.

"And of course the passenger side in front of the seat is where my wife always put her purse," he said.

Later, as Donald sat by Terri's bedside, he realized his wife's purse was missing. Despite canceling credit cards and her checking account. Someone had already illegally racked up $6,000 in bills.

Donald says he also saw two men breaking into his storage containers at his home a few days after the crash. He believes they had Terri's keys.

Riverside police investigators collected surveillance video of a woman they believe was using Terri's credit cards at a local store. They're hoping someone will recognize her and her distinct tattoos.

Donald is also hoping the suspects are caught, because he says what they did to the love of his life is simply despicable.

"They don't deserve to be on the same planet as my wife," he said.

Contact Us