FRIEDENS, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – A Pennsylvania couple is accused of faking the birth and death of a baby to obtain more than $600 in donations and gifts from friends and family.
State police on Thursday charged Geoffrey and Kaycee Lang with theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
Authorities say the couple posted a photo on Facebook of a baby. They said the child was born July 3 but died hours later. Authorities say the photo matched the appearance of a “newborn look-a-like baby doll” that was found in their Somerset County home.
A GoFundMe account was established. The couple also had a baby shower in May.
“I hosted the baby shower,” former friend of the couple Cindy Dilacia said. “I paid for the food, everything. … I was happy for them.”
The couple hosted a gender reveal party with a 3D sonogram of a baby boy.
Then came the tragic news.
“I got a call from her mother, crying saying Kaycee had the baby,” Dilacia said. “But the baby died at the hospital.”
The couple started a GoFundMe for Easton Walt Lang, and Geoffery posted an entry on his Facebook about his son’s death.
The couple also held a memorial service.
Dilacia was suspicious and called the funeral home, learning the baby never existed.
“I couldn’t watch everybody cry over something that was not real,” Dilacia said.
Authorities said there was no record of the baby’s birth or death.
A number could not be found for the couple, and it was not clear if they had a lawyer.
GoFundMe released a statement Friday, saying:
“This type of behavior 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. This campaign received 15 donations totaling $550.”
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