A healthy and robust 84-year-old great-grandfather is still alive today thanks to the heroic efforts of an alert five-year-old girl.
Little Sheila Wilknobble couldn’t convince her father to stop walking and listen when they passed an ordinary mailbox on a busy street in Caracas, Venezuela.
She said she heard the weak groaning of an elderly man coming from inside the box. Her father didn’t believe her, but as it turned out, she was right, and her keen sense of hearing saved a life.
Demetrus Bohnek, the imprisoned senior citizen, had been stuck inside the tight confines of the street side mail depository for over two days — and Sheila was the first person to do anything about it!
And, almost as if it were a miracle that was meant to be, the man Sheila rescued turned out to be a most grateful multi-millionaire.
Sheila opened her own mailbox three days after the incident and found a check for three million dollars, along with a short note that said: “Honey, thanks for hearing my little voice. I’ll always love you.”
Both of Sheila’s parents are unemployed, and the money has allowed Sheila and her family to rise out of poverty for the first time in generations.
Cramped and bruised
She called the police as soon as she got home, and Demetrus Bohnek — who is the father of six, grandfather of eleven, and great-grandfather of three — was found inside the mailbox and rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment.
“I’d say he would have died if he had stayed in that mailbox for another hour,” says Dr. Stu Waldercroft, the emergency room physician who treated Bohnek. “He was on the verge of death.
“Not only was he having difficulty getting a sufficient supply of oxygen, but his vital organs received some brutal treatment. His stomach and liver were bruised and severely inflamed.
“Let’s face it. Those boxes weren’t made for people to fit into.”
Mugged by roughneck girls
Bohnek, who built a successful wine distributorship in his working days, says he had just taken a leisurely walk to the mailbox and dropped in a letter when he was mugged, robbed, and stuffed into the box by a gang of three teens.
“The oddest thing about those crackpot kids is that they were girls,” Bohnek says. “But they were rough, and they were dirty. They were dressed like boys, but there was no mistaking those high voices. They were young girls. You wouldn’t want to mess with them.”
Bohnek’s children tried to get a court order to stop Sheila from depositing the three million dollar check. Fearing the loss of their entire inheritance, the desperate children told the judge that their aging father had lost his sanity, due to his two traumatic days inside the mailbox. The judge denied the request.