Woman accused of robbing disabled student in wheelchair

February 13, 2012 3:53:15 PM PST
A local man says he hired an escort so he could preach to her, but instead he became the victim of a robbery.

Erik Garcia suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and has been confined to a wheelchair since he was 13. On January 26, he ventured on to the Houston backpages.com with the idea of calling up an escort service to try, as he describes it, to evangelize to them.

"I called them up, and said, 'Hey, just listen to me for an hour, I'll give you $100.' And I would preach to that person and try to get them to change their ways, and lo and behold, I got mugged," Garcia told Eyewitness News.

It didn't go as planned. According to investigators, the woman answered on the other end of the escort service was Jamie Sue Vaughn, someone who's been arrested more than 10 times in the last decade for drugs and prostitution.

This time, Vaughn picked up Garcia at the home he shared with his parents and allegedly robbed him.

"She said, 'I have a gun,' and I took out the money," said Garcia.

Investigators say Vaughn drove Garcia to a convenience store, and withdrew more than $500 from the ATM. She then allegedly drove him to another gas station where a male accomplice was present and took more money from Garcia.

Eventually, they dropped Garcia in his wheelchair at a Howard Johnson Motel near the Gulf Freeway, but not before stealing the ring he was wearing that belonged to his deceased brother.

"It's terrible, it's scary," said Garcia's mother.

Police have now charged Vaughn, 28, with aggravated robbery, though she's not yet under arrest.

As for Garcia, who is a 27-year-old student at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, says being confined to a wheelchair won't stop him from trying to help people. But he's going to try a different approach.

"I try not to let this experience deaden me. I'm going to help whomever I can, but I'm not going to look for trouble anymore," said Garcia.

Police say Garcia identified Vaughn in a photo lineup.

Bond has been set at $30,000.