Boy be­comes ICSO’s Deputy for a Day

Imperial Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY VIN­CENT OSUNA Staff Writer

EL CEN­TRO — Im­pe­rial County Sher­iff’s Of­fice staff gath­ered Fri­day morn­ing to wel­come and swear in their new­est hon­orary deputy sher­iff, Carter Troy Cas­taneda, a 2-year-old boy who was di­ag­nosed with the rare dis­ease Helsmoor­tel-Van Der Aa syn­drome, also known as ADNP.

Carter was pre­vi­ously was fea­tured in a video on­line by ICSO for Rare Dis­ease Day in February, and the Sher­iff’s Of­fice de­cided to host a small cer­e­mony within its fa­cil­i­ties here to meet him in per­son and make him deputy for a day.

Dressed in a minia­ture ICSO hat, badge and green polo, the 2-year-old was able to sit inside a pa­trol unit, in­ter­act with a K-9 and meet ICSO staff and ad­min­is­tra­tors.

“There’s a lot of as­pects to the Sher­iff’s Of­fice,” ICSO in­ves­ti­ga­tor Juan Bel­tran said. “With Carter be­ing an hon­orary deputy, we tried to ex­pose him to as much as we can and what it means to be a Sher­iff’s Of­fice employee and the family we’ve es­tab­lished here.”

Co­in­ci­den­tally, Carter has a few family ties to the county Sher­iff’s Of­fice, as Bel­tran is his un­cle and his grand­fa­ther, Robert Boas, is an ICSO cor­rec­tional of­fi­cer.

“Since Carter is my nephew, it re­ally means a lot,” Bel­tran said, “but it also goes to show that law en­force­ment as a whole, we’re go­ing out and branch­ing out, and we’re trying to raise aware­ness, not only for our­selves, but also for the peo­ple in our com­mu­nity and some that are af­fected by rare men­tal dis­eases such as ADNP.”

An im­por­tant mem­ber of Carter’s family who wasn’t able to at­tend the cer­e­mony was his fa­ther, Roberto Cas­taneda, an ac­tive-duty mem­ber of the U.S. Army who is serv­ing over­seas.

Roberto and his wife Miranda Cas­taneda re­side in Texas, but they were both born and raised in the Im­pe­rial Val­ley.

Miranda pro­vided live video from her phone to her hus­band through­out the cer­e­mony.

“He thought it was so spe­cial, and he def­i­nitely wished with ev­ery bone in his body that he could be here,” Miranda said. “I think he got a lit­tle teary-eyed when we were Face­tim­ing be­cause he didn’t re­al­ize how many peo­ple were go­ing to come out. I know that it meant a lot of to him that they did all this for Carter. It was re­ally spe­cial to him to see that our com­mu­nity that we grew up in is giving back and mak­ing this spe­cial mo­ment that Carter could look back on. It was re­ally spe­cial for him.”

Carter’s mother be­lieves it’s very im­por­tant that aware­ness is made for rare dis­eases such as ADNP.

“This dis­ease that Carter has, it didn’t come from me, and it didn’t come from my hus­band. It was just a course of na­ture, so it could hap­pen to any­one,” Miranda said. “So it’s re­ally im­por­tant that we ad­vo­cate for these chil­dren that don’t have a voice and just help par­ents to feel con­fi­dent in get­ting the help that they need for a child who is di­ag­nosed, or have some sort of dis­or­der, to get the ge­netic test­ing.”

Only 150 other chil­dren through­out the world have been di­ag­nosed with ADNP, which is de­fined as a neu­rode­vel­op­ment dis­or­der caused by a mu­ta­tion in the ac­tiv­ity de­pen­dent neu­ro­pro­tec­tive protein gene.

The gene af­fects brain for­ma­tion, func­tion and de­vel­op­ment, as well as other or­gans and func­tions of the body.

“We say that Carter is very lucky be­cause there’s a wide range of symp­toms, and some chil­dren that have worst symp­toms than oth­ers,” Carter’s mother said.

Miranda said her son is devel­op­men­tally de­layed, cog­ni­tively de­layed and not quite walk­ing yet.

She said her 2-year-old at­tends phys­i­cal ther­apy three times a week, as well as speech ther­apy, occupational ther­apy and ap­plied be­hav­ior anal­y­sis ther­apy.

“Some kids that are di­ag­nosed, they never talk and their par­ents never hear their voice,” Miranda said. “Some have car­diac de­fects, and some have seizures. Carter is very lucky that he’s not ex­pe­ri­enc­ing that, though.”

The video ICSO made about Carter was even­tu­ally fea­tured in a story from the pop­u­lar me­dia out­let Daily Mail UK, and has since brought at­ten­tion from the Rare Dis­ease Foun­da­tion.

VIN­CENT OSUNA PHOTO

Carter Troy Cas­taneda, 2, en­joys sit­ting in a pa­trol unit as he was rec­og­nized as Im­pe­rial County Sher­iff’s Of­fice deputy for a day on Fri­day morn­ing in El Cen­tro.

VIN­CENT OSUNA PHOTO

Carter in­ter­acts with a K-9 unit on Fri­day morn­ing at the ICSO fa­cil­ity in El Cen­tro.

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