North Idaho car theft victim finds van crashed, teen suspects still inside

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A North Idaho family was brought to tears after a series of struggles found them this year. The latest was their van being stolen from in front of their home. It was found the next day wrecked, with the teen suspect still inside.

KHQ's Hayley Guenthner first told their story on Monday, November 18.

"You don't plan for those moments," Desiree Davis said. "You don't think someone will steal your vehicle and then you'll find it completely totaled.

Our family has been through a lot this year. It just felt like why?"

The thieves also threw out their new baby's stroller and destroyed her car seat. With the family only able to afford liability insurance on the vehicle, they held out hope the teen responsible would somehow be forced to pay. It's a process that feels as stalled as their broken down wheels.

"We both work, my kids have school," she said. "This was huge for us. And right before Thanksgiving and Christmas. This was the latest thing we needed."

So they turned to KHQ's Help Me Hayley, and something about the pain in the story we aired Monday evening hit a familiar spot for a stranger.

"I've been helped out in my life and I just want to pay it forward," John Karnath said.

That's exactly what he did.

"I'm sorry I'm crying," he said. "I just can't believe someone would do that to this young family."

Karnath drove into Spokane Valley from St. John. He worked out a deal with the general manager at Auto Credit Sales, and they came together to get a new van for the family.

"I just wow, thank you so much," Davis said. "I can't believe it."

All the men are hoping to get in return for the incredible act of generosity is that this creates a ripple effect, and more people go out and be kind.