A Pennsylvania couple has been accused of faking the birth and death of their baby in order to dupe their family and friends into giving them more than $600 in donations and gifts.
Kaycee and Geoffrey Lang were both charged on Thursday with theft by deception and receiving stolen property after details of their elaborate scheme emerged.
Police said Kaycee, 23, faked being pregnant, shared photos on Facebook of her growing baby bump and revealed she and her 27-year-old husband were having a boy.
Friends hosted a baby shower for the couple in May and they were given a number of gifts before Kaycee claimed she needed to be on bed rest for the final two months of her pregnancy.
The couple revealed to family and friends on July 3 that their son, Easton Walt Lang, had been born and they even posted a photo on Facebook of the baby.
But Kaycee and Geoffrey revealed soon after that their baby boy had tragically died in the hours after the birth.
In an online obituary, the couple said Easton was born at Conemaugh Memorial Hospital at 3.11am weighing seven pounds.
‘Easton’s parents were blessed with just a little over 5 hours before he went to his heavenly home at 8.20 am,’ the obituary said.
‘Easton experienced holding hands and hugs and kisses with his mommy and daddy and being told uncountable number of ‘I love yous’.’
A GoFundMe page was quickly established to raise funds for Easton’s funeral and a memorial service was held after the couple said they had cremated their son.
Kaycee’s friend Cynthia Dilascio told WTAE that the couple said the official cause of death was respiratory distress syndrome after the baby was born with fluid on his lungs.
‘The baby had fluid in his lungs but they gave him back to her and said he’ll be fine. I knew that just didn’t seem right,’ Dilascio said.
Dilascio said she was suspicious of their story and called the funeral home.
When she was told there was no account matching the name of Easton Lang, Dilascio said she contacted police.
Authorities said during their investigation, they uncovered a ‘newborn look-a-like baby doll’ in the couple’s home.
Police said the doll appeared to match the photo of the baby posted on Facebook.
Authorities also found there was no official record of the baby’s birth or death.
Friends said the couple had previously spoken of losing a baby years earlier. A photo on Kaycee’s Facebook page shows a sonogram image from 2015.
GoFundMe said the donations given to the Langs would be refunded.
‘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,’ they said in a statement.
‘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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