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Fargo woman's wheelchair returned

Wheelchair found1 / 2
Wheelchair found2 / 2

Chair taken from deck turned up in cemetery

The saga of Patty Hovde's missing wheelchair rolled to a happy end Tuesday with news that it had been found.

The missing chair turned up in an unlikely location: It was discovered behind a tombstone at Springdale Cemetery in north Fargo.

Someone had apparently taken it for a boisterous joyride.

"They obviously took it off-road," said Joe Baglietto, a friend of Hovde's. "It looked like somebody was being rough with it. I got it together again."

Still, Hovde, who is facing surgery to amputate her right foot, ankle and lower leg May 28, is delighted to have the wheelchair back.

The chair apparently was stolen from the deck of her trailer home at the Edgewood Mobile Home Court in north Fargo.

Another twist: The wheelchair actually was recovered several days before it was reported missing, and was in the found property room of the Fargo Police Department.

The evidence property manager made the connection between Hovde and the missing chair when she read about Hovde's plight Tuesday morning in The Forum.

Hovde waited a few days to report the chair missing in the hope it would turn up. The chair was loaned to Hovde by her father, a leg amputee from World War II. He had the chair on loan from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Offers of help came pouring in, and Baglietto said Hovde might be able to get a replacement light, narrow wheelchair from someone who contacted her after reading about the missed chair.

Well-wishes also came from April Holmes, who lost part of her leg in a train accident eight years ago and later set world records and earned a gold metal at the Paralympic Games in Beijing. She learned of Hovde's misfortune from a news alert while training in California.

Once fitted with a prosthesis, Hovde will feel much better about herself, Holmes said. "It makes you feel like you have value," she said. After an amputation, "You struggle to find yourself."

Sgt. Ross Renner of the Fargo Police Department said they have no leads on any suspects, so the case likely has been closed with the return of the chair.