12 ON YOUR SIDE: Disabled man abused by caretakers needs your help

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A chilling crime of abuse prompted a severely disabled man to contact 12 On Your Side through Facebook.

Josh Wilson has cerebral palsy and is a quadriplegic, but two thieving healthcare workers maxed out his credit card and crashed his van.

Josh talks using a special head device. His head also controls the mechanism to move his wheelchair, because his hands are useless.

"My former aides threatened to not care for me unless I allowed them to use my cards," said Josh. "This put me in a very serious and dangerous position."

Josh needs personal aides for life-sustaining care. Everyday things like opening a can of soda, getting dressed, things he can't do for himself - including getting in and out of bed.

His caretakers were suppose to be taking care of him, preparing his meals, but according to some of the expenses I've seen, they were eating out at restaurants and feeding him junk.

Josh says the thieving caregivers paid their personal bills too. A total of $900 to Dominion Virginia Power, $300 to Westend Eye Care, $425 to a PayPal account and the kicker, $39 at McDonald's.

Diane: "Were you scared?"

Josh: "Yeah. But I could not do nothing."

By the time Josh found courage to tell somebody, they'd racked up nearly $6,000 in unauthorized charges.

Both caregivers pled guilty to petit larceny. Shawn Seay got 12 months, 10 suspended. Candice Church served no jail time.

Josh: "The female had worked for me on and off for 12 years. Her son was dear to my heart."

Diane: "So, you feel betrayed?"

Josh: "Yes."

Diane: "Are you still angry?"

Josh: "Yes. Yes."

During the same time in 2010, he says they crashed his van and it hasn't run right since. He says it's broken down now in front of someone's home.

Life without a van is prison for Josh, who loves learning and living. Doctors appointments are difficult, and activities that connect him to life outside his one bedroom apartment are near impossible now.

It's a heartbreaking story - but you can help. Josh needs a wheelchair-accessible van. He entered a national contest and needs people to vote for him as he tries to win a van.

Here's the page to help josh win a wheelchair accessible van:

Spread the word - the more people vote, the better chance he has.

The 'National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association' is working to help people with disabilities get reliable transportation.

May 10 is the last day to vote. It's quick, and you can vote once every day until Friday.

[Editor's Note: The system only allows one vote per IP number per day – if someone else voted from the same IP already (i.e. from your workplace), it won't allow you to cast a vote as well. We ran into the same issue here after someone cast a vote. If you can, vote from home so you can use a different IP number.]

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