Couple lose their car, livelihood in Jemez Mountains car theft

Updated: 09/02/2014 10:25 PM | Created: 09/02/2014 9:21 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Jemez Mountains are one of the last places you'd expect any sort of theft, but a couple who depends on their car for more than just their own transportation had it stolen in broad daylight, and the thief got away with a piece of their freedom.

After three decades together, James and Rhonda Rightley still make time for one of their favorite past times – watching woodpeckers and wildlife up in the mountains.

Living amongst the trees and beauty in the Jemez Mountains, the couple is trying to enjoy their later years in life, but when James started having seizures about ten years ago, everything changed for both of them.

"For me, it's been a really long road to get through," said James. "To accept the points and the freedoms I have to give up at any given time…most people take them for granted."

Rhonda's life has changed too. She has a job cleaning homes so she can better care for James and help make ends meet.

It had all worked out just find until someone made off with their car.

"[It's] my livelihood…how I make a living, you know?" Rhonda said. "I have to drive to get to work, and it's something you depend on – you know, just the security of knowing it's here."

It's not just the Rightley's security and livelihood the thief drove off with – James had just gotten a new walker that allowed him to have a piece of his personal freedom back.

Never knowing when a seizure could come on, the walker allowed him to have a seat when he felt an episode coming on.

But like every good husband, he's not thinking of himself – it's Rhonda that's on his mind.

"Now, not only do I not have any way to get around, but now her freedom has been taken away from her too."

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