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Secret santa gives new iPad to special needs child

By Amanda Brannon
Published On: Dec 19 2012 06:56:20 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 22 2012 08:31:27 AM CST
GREENVILLE -

After thieves steal an iPad from a special needs child, a secret santa comes to the rescue to replace it.

NewsChannel 12 presented the gift to 9-year-old Christopher Murphy on Friday.

His mom, Lil Artis, describes him as a happy kid.

"He really is. He is happy. It take a lot to get him down," Artis said.

However, for the last few days Christopher's routine has been slightly disrupted. On Monday, their family home was broken into and burglars got away with two Christmas presents. They also took the iPad that is full of apps that Christopher uses every day as part of his therapy to help with his autism.

Katie Knight, with The Autism Society, has been working with Christopher for nearly a year. She is his community skills instructor and meets with him almost every day.

"There's one [app] where he has to spell out a word and each syllable is given a sound. And he has to spell it out by what he hears...At first, when I started he had a hard time processing things I would say and I would have to write them down. And he's getting better at understanding the hearing because he has the iPad. I think that has really helped him a lot," Knight said.

Thanks to a NewsChannel 12 viewer, Christmas for this family will be a little bit brighter this year. The secret santa who wanted to remain anonymous donated a brand new iPad 3, along with an iTunes gift card.

Lil said she's still surprised someone wanted to help them out.

"That was mighty quick. I sure do thank whoever it was a lot. You can't tell me who it was? ...Ok., That's fine, but whoever you are thanks a lot. I really do appreciate that. That was a load off my mind," she said.

Christopher also appreciated the kindness. After he opened the present he said, "Thank you very much."

The secret santa did purchase a  two-year warranty on the iPad so if anything happens to it the family will be able to get it fixed.

Lil said she has already ordered one of the games that was stolen from her home. She said it's expected to arrive in the next few days.

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A Pitt County woman said thieves came into her home and stole Christmas presents that were underneath her tree.

The Pitt County Sheriff's Office got the call about 10:45 p.m. on Monday.

Lil Artis said she left the house at 9 p.m. to go to the post office. When she returned, she found her house had been broken into, and two presents were missing.

"When I walked in the house I saw a big present laying in this chair and his computer screen laying in the chair. I stopped at the front door and then I saw the window was busted out with glass everywhere," Artis said.

She said the worst part was that her son's iPad was also gone. Her 9-year-old son, Chris, is autistic and uses the iPad to learn basic communication skills.

"He uses that every day when he gets out of school. And it kinda hurt my feelings the way they took his iPad. They should of took anything outside of that," Artis said.

Lil said she would like to replace the items that were taken but she's cant afford to buy another iPad.

"He don't understand what happened. The only thing he keep asking for is his iPad and I keep telling him we don't have it. He don't understand what went on," she said.

Lil is concerned the thieves may try to come back so she said she's not taking any chances.

"I don't leave the house anymore. I'm gonna wait until after Christmas then let everything be opened. I'm just gonna wait until after Christmas before I start going anywhere again," she said.

Lil said deputies did get fingerprints from where the thieves broke her window and got into the house.