Stolen trailer, cherished photographs returned to Denham Springs family

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - It's an early Christmas miracle for Monther and Vickie Batarseh. WAFB News spoke with them almost one month ago when their trailer, which contained treasured photographs, tools and jewelry that they saved from floodwaters, was stolen.

Among those treasured photographs were some of the last pictures they had of the son Layth, who passed away four years ago. "Family stuff that we had that wouldn't mean anything to anybody but us," Vickie Batarseh said. But now, they have the trailer, and some of their possessions back.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office said the trailer was found when one of the men who allegedly stole it tried to register it. The tools and jewelry were missing, but some of Layth's photos and toys were found.

"That was really great news for that," Monther Batarseh said. "Some of the stuff they never recovered, but these two items to me are very important."

Detectives said this theft turned out to be part of a large string of thefts throughout Livingston, Ascension, and East Baton Rouge parishes. Investigators say 12 suspects were working together as a team and two men, Owen Rae and Jeremiah Wallace, stole the Batarseh's trailer. All suspects face felony or misdemeanor theft charges for stealing vehicles and credit cards.

The Batarsehs have decided to put their anger aside and instead focus on the Christmas holiday. Two of the toys recovered were Layth's horses that he constantly played with. The Batarsehs gave the toys to their two granddaughters.

Their mother said it reminds her of when Layth would play with his nieces.

"Those things that they get to play with that gets to be passed down to them that they're going to love like he loved," said Dehia Crusta, Vickie and Monther's daughter. "That's ... it's pretty. It's pretty amazing."

The Batarsehs also wanted to thank the WAFB news team for bringing attention to the problem.

"Appreciate Channel 9," Monther Batarseh said. "That had a lot to do with it. I thought, you know, you guys did a really good job."

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