Days after a 4-year-old boy whose prosthetic leg disappeared from a beach during a family outing in Orange County is being fitted with a new leg and the family is thanking the public for the support.
Frank Brenes' said he was in shock when he noticed that his 4-year-old son Liam's prosthetic leg disappeared during a trip Sunday to Crystal Cove State Park.
"When the leg was taken my belief in humanity took a hit," Frank said. "But after seeing what everyone in the community has done, I really believe there is more good in this world than bad."
Liam uses the leg to get around. He suffers from a genetic condition called Facto Syndrome and had his leg amputated below the knee at age 1.
His dad said that he is so good-natured that after the leg went missing he told his dad, "It's OK, Daddy. I put something really important on my Christmas list. I can ask Santa for a new leg."
Brenes describes Liam as a "strong, resilient and happy" boy who loved to wrestle and practice karate. The weekend trip was the first time Liam, who was afraid of water, had gone into the ocean.
The incident happened after the family went down to the beach early to beat the weekend crowds, the father said. They left their bag on the beach, like many people do everyday, but when they returned from the water, he said the bag, which included their clothes, Liam's brother's glasses and a camera, was missing. The prosthetic had been placed atop the bag, in plain sight.
Dad searched trash cans and bushes nearby, but couldn't find the leg.
He said he reported the incident to the State Park rangers, who patrol the beach. State parks officials confirmed a report was taken but wouldn't talk about the status of the case or whether there was an arrest, said Ryan Gates, a Crystal Cove State Park aide.
Ann-Marie Brasil, a family friend, set up an account on GoFundMe which has raised more than $12,000 as of Tuesday to help pay for a replacement.
"To also take a child's leg and eye glasses is simply devastating to these boys and their family," she wrote.