Ohio woman arrested for claiming child had cancer for donation funds, sheriff says
Jan 11, 2024, 4:17 PM
(CNN) — Authorities arrested an Ohio woman and charged her with theft after she allegedly lied about her child having cancer to collect thousands of dollars in donations, according to the Noble County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives arrested Pamela Reed, 41, of Pleasant City, Ohio, Monday after the sheriff’s office and Noble County Children’s Services received a report of “a potential theft by deception” in connection to a local child “publicly portrayed to be fighting cancer,” a Wednesday news release said.
“Several local organizations had participated in fundraising efforts and had made monetary contributions to help the family offset medical expenses,” the release said.
After detectives and children services officials confirmed the child did not have cancer, Reed was arrested and transported to Noble County Jail, according to court documents.
CNN reached out to Reed’s attorney for comment but has not heard back.
The elementary school the 7-year-old attended raised concerns after Reed provided documentation to the school saying the child was diagnosed with cancer, according to a redacted affidavit from a Noble County police detective filed Wednesday in Noble County Court.
Reed informed the school the child was “blind in her right eye and would be having a port implanted in the near future for her cancer treatments,” the affidavit said.
The school expressed concerns after they conducted an eye exam on the child, according to the affidavit. The school also stated the child missed over 280 hours of school “for this year already,” the affidavit said.
A school administrator contacted a medical provider and confirmed the child “did not have cancer or leukemia, and she never had cancer or leukemia,” according to the court document and the Noble County sheriff in a phone call to CNN.
The provider also confirmed that the document Reed submitted stating the child had cancer was fraudulent, the affidavit said.
Reed posted “numerous statements on Facebook” about the child having cancer, according to the affidavit. It added that fundraisers occurred and donations were collected to assist in the child’s “cancer” treatments.
Reed posted about her daughter’s alleged condition as recent as January 6 on a Facebook profile that the Noble County Sheriff’s Office told CNN they believe is connected to the case.
“When they told us this was going to be the biggest fight so far, we thought we were prepared, but nothing prepares a parent to see any of this,” Reed said on her Facebook profile. “Tuesday starts another 10 weeks of an even harder treatment and so many other medicines …….no child should have to fight this hard for anything, us as parents are the ones who handle all the hard stuff.”
A fundraising event to benefit Reed’s daughter was held on October 21, according to a Facebook page that Reed used to update supporters on her child’s alleged condition and that the sheriff’s office also believes is connected to the case. The post alleged all proceeds were going to be used to benefit her daughter’s acute myeloid leukemia journey. The post has since been removed as of Thursday morning.
The Facebook page and Reed’s Facebook profile also contain several images since 2018 that show Reed’s daughter in a hospital allegedly for cancer treatment.
One organization “reported they gave the Reed family around $8,000 to help with the expenses of cancer treatments” for the child, the affidavit said.
“Reed was interviewed and admitted during questioning that she had exaggerated and fabricated medical conditions to receive monetary donations from local organizations,” according to the sheriff’s news release.
“Pamela first lied but then admitted” the child “did not have cancer and she posted those statements because she liked the support given as a result,” the affidavit said.
The affidavit also said Reed admitted she had shaved the child’s hair, “and it was never because of cancer treatment.” A photo Reed posted to her Facebook profile in 2022 shows her daughter with a shaven head and face mask.
Reed “was charged with theft, by deception, a felony of the fourth degree. Noble County Court Judge Jennifer Arnold set her bond at $50,000,” the sheriff’s office said.
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