A Pennsylvania couple who reportedly set up a GoFundMe page asking for donations in the wake of their newborn son's death are now being accused by police of faking the child's entire existence as part of a ruse to collect cash and gifts from their friends, family and community.
On Thursday, Kaycee Lang, 23, and Geoffrey Lang, 27, of Friedens, were charged with theft and deception.
Authorities said during their investigation, they uncovered a "newborn look-a-like baby doll" in the couple's home.
A GoFundMe account was established.
A baby shower was arranged for the couple in May, before Kaycee claimed she needed to be on bed rest for the final two months of her pregnancy.
However, despite the news, it did arouse curiosity from the police as no record of the baby's birth and death was found. Police then began investigating the couple regarding the baby about any possible wrongdoings or if an infant was in danger in any way.
It could not be determined if the couple has a lawyer.
The Cambria County Coroner's Office, the Somerset County Coroner's Office, Conemaugh Memorial Hospital and Conemaugh Memorial OB/GYN confirmed there was no record of the baby or Kaycee Lang having been a patient.
"Easton experienced holding hands and hugs and kisses with his mommy and daddy and being told uncountable number of "I love yous".
"The baby had fluid in his lungs, but they gave him back to her [Kaycee] and said he'll be fine", Cynthia told the news station. She then reported to the state police.
Kaycee Lang was interviewed that same day, when she told state troopers her son "had Respiratory Distress Syndrome and died hours after birth", according to court documents.
The Langs claimed the baby was cremated at Hindman Funeral Home, but the funeral home said they did not cremate anyone by the name of Easton Lang. "They used their GoFundMe page to trick friends, relatives and people that were close to them".
'We have a zero tolerance policy for any misuse on the platform.
GoFundMe said the page raised 15 donations totaling $550 - but the site says those donations will now be returned.
In an August 5 interview, Geoffrey Lang told state troopers that he wasn't at the hospital when his baby was born and died, according to a probable cause affidavit against him. All donors are fully protected by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means donors are protected by a comprehensive refund policy if misuse occurs.
The charges against the couple are misdemeanours, but if the amount of money they received exceeds US$2000, the couple could face felony charges, Limani said.
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