CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jeff Mauldin may just get that “Christmas Miracle” to help his wife, Corilee, thanks to the Charlotte area community.
Jeff and Corilee both have special needs. The two have been married for 21 years and haven't spent much of that away from each other.
Last week, Corilee had to have surgery after she broke her knee in a fall. Her sister-in-law, Janice Bowers, checked Corilee into Wilora Lake Healthcare Center Friday for rehabilitation.
"Corilee took out her teeth and hearing aids and put them at her bedside that night," explained Bowers. "When she woke up they were gone."
Staff members told NBC Charlotte they searched everywhere for the missing devices, but have yet to find any sign of them.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are investigating this as a grand larceny case, although they aren't sure exactly what happened to the teeth and hearing aids.
An officer said it is possible someone accidentally threw them away, another patient unknowingly took them or a person may have stolen them.
"Corilee is a mess right now and I'm in a mess and wanting to do something for her but I can't," said Jeff Mauldin."I don't have the money."
Corilee's dentures were provided by Medicaid. Without the upper and lower sets she cannot properly eat and has had problems with choking in the past.
"Medicaid only covers one set every 10 years. So insurance won't cover this. We can't afford to replace them," said Bowers. "But she can't eat without them."
Her hearing aids were donated to her. Corilee needs them to continue doing her job in the dining facilities at UNC Charlotte.
"She has worked there for the past 22 years. She is so proud of that. It gives her a purpose," said Bowers."I don't want this to take that away from her."
Bowers said she did sign a waiver when checking Corilee into Wilora Lake that stated the facility was not responsible for lost or stolen items.
Plus, he added, she doesn't want to blame the healthcare center. She repeatedly said she is thankful for the staff and the care it is providing as Corilee recovers from surgery.
"I love my little wife and I just want her to get her teeth and hearing back," said Jeff.
Hundreds of NBC Charlotte viewers have reached out since the story first aired Tuesday night. A Facebook friend created a secure page for people who want to donate money to help offset the costs of replacing the devices. The page creator contacted Bowers, who is now the administrator and can make sure all of the donations go to getting Corilee back to her old self.
Several dentists, including Henry Ernst of Waxhaw, offered to make Corilee new partials at no cost to the Mauldins. Dental Laboratories have pledged to waive the fees for whichever dentist helps Corilee.
Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat contacted NBC Charlotte and Bowers to get the ball rolling on fitting Corilee with two new hearing aids.