In an attempt to scam people out of charitable donations, a Pennsylvania couple had faked the birth and death of a child who never existed, police said.
Kaycee and Geoffrey Lang could not image what they would reap when they first planned the crime. According to a criminal complaint, Kaycee Lang allegedly initially put a post on Facebook that showed her with a pregnancy bump as the couple announced they were having a boy. In May, they uploaded other photos, which showed Kaycee Lang opening gifts at a baby shower thrown for them by a friend.
Then on July 3, the couple once again posted on social media claiming their newborn son died hours after birth at the Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown.
“Easton’s parents were blessed with just a little over 5 hours before he went to his heavenly home at 8.20 am.,” an online post read. “Easton experienced holding hands and hugs and kisses with his mommy and daddy and being told uncountable number of ‘I love yous.’”
Shortly after that, the couple created a GoFundMe fundraiser page and asked for donations to help cover the baby’s funeral expenses. They had been received around $550 in donations.
It would be a perfect crime unless Cynthia, a couple’s friend found something dark in the story.
The friend told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 that she contacted the funeral home and learned that there was no record of the baby.
“The baby had fluid in his lungs but they gave him back to her [Kaylee] and said, ‘he’ll be fine. I knew, like, that just doesn’t seem right.” She then contacted the police.
Cynthia said the couple even held a memorial for a baby. She didn’t attend.
“I knew it was fake,” Cynthia added.
Authorities began working on an investigation and verified that Kaylee Lang never gave birth at the hospital and never had the child cremated at the funeral home as she claimed.
Investigators said they found a doll inside the couple’s home that greatly resembled a real newborn baby. Authorities think the couple took a photo of the doll and used it on their GoFundMe page.
The testimonies of the couple also showed the contradictions as Geoffrey told police the baby died from heart problems and fluids in his lungs while his wife told authorities the baby died from respiratory distress syndrome.
The couple was arrested on Thursday and charged with theft by deception, theft by unlawfully taking or disposition and receiving stolen property.
Megan Scripture, the regional communications spokeswoman for GoFundMe, told CrimeOnline that they will issue full refunds to all donors.