Couple Used Doll To Fake Birth And Death Of Baby Before Launching Fundraiser
A couple in the US have been charged with fraud and theft by deception after allegedly using a doll to fake the birth and death of their baby, before asking for gifts and donations.
Geoffrey and Kaycee Lang, from Pennsylvania, posted an obituary online in which they claimed they had only five hours with their baby Easton before 'he went to his heavenly home' as a result of 'respiratory distress syndrome'.
Four days after the baby's apparent death, they also set up a GoFundMe page - containing what appeared to be a picture of Easton - appealing for contributions towards the cost of a funeral and medical bills, amassing a total of $550 (£452) in donations.
The fundraising page said: "Please keep my wife and I in your thoughts and prayer.
"Our son Easton was born with fluid in his lungs and passed away a few hours after he was born.
"We would greatly appreciate if as many of you guys could share this and if u are stable enough to do so is donate also to help pay for the funeral expenses and medical bills."
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However, their ruse was exposed after suspicious friend Cynthia Dilascio phoned the funeral home where Easton was supposedly cremated, only to find they had no record of the baby. She then alerted the police who found a lifelike baby doll at the Lang home. Authorities also said there was no hospital record of the baby's birth, and that the coroner's office had no record of his death.
Cynthia said the Langs invited her to a memorial for the baby, however, she refused to go as she knew it was all a lie.
Speaking to ABC News, Cynthia said: "I couldn't go, I knew that this was fake. I couldn't go and sit and watch this go on and know the truth.
"I don't know what their motive was, but to hurt your family and everybody, it's just sick."
A GoFundMe spokesperson said all donors would be refunded.
She said: "This type of behaviour is not tolerated on GoFundMe. We will fully cooperate with law enforcement officials during their investigation and we will issue full refunds to all donors.
"We have a zero tolerance policy for any misuse on the platform. All donors are fully protected by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means donors are protected by a comprehensive refund policy if misuse occurs."
The Langs are due to appear in court on 1 October.
Featured Image Credit: GoFundMe