Pennsylvania couple fakes birth and death of baby using life-like doll, dupes family and friends of $600
SOMERSET, PENNSYLVANIA: A Pennsylvania couple reportedly faked the birth and death of their baby in a bid to dupe family and friends into giving them more than $600 in donations and gifts.
Kaycee and Geoffrey Lang's elaborate scheme has now landed them in police custody as both got charged on Thursday, August 15, with theft by deception and receiving stolen property, the Daily Mail reported.
Kaycee allegedly faked being pregnant and posted photos on social media showing her growing baby bump before claiming they were having a son together, police said.
In May, friends and family members hosted a baby shower for the Langs and gave them several gifts before Kaycee revealed she needed to be on bed rest for the last two months of her pregnancy.
On July 3, the couple posted a photo of their baby son, Easton Walt Long, on Facebook annoucing his birth.
However, Kaycee and Geoffrey shocked family and friends soon after when they revealed that their baby boy had tragically died just hours after being born.
The coupe wrote in an online obituary that 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 read.
"Easton experienced holding hands and hugs and kisses with his mommy and daddy and being told uncountable number of 'I love yous'."
In order to raise funds for Easton's funeral, the Langs quickly set up a GoFundMe page and held a memorial service saying they had chosen to cremate their son.
Speaking to WTAE, Kaycee's friend Cynthia Dilascio revealed the couple had told them the official cause of death was respiratory distress syndrome after the baby was born with lungs filled with fluid.
"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.
She said she became suspicious of the couple's story and contacted the funeral home to find out further details.
They told her they had no account in the name of Easton Lang, prompting her to immediately alert authorities.
During the subsequent investigation, officers discovered a "newborn look-a-like baby doll" in their home.
When they cross-checked with the photo of the baby posted on Facebook, the doll appeared to be a perfect match.
Furthermore, they also found there was no official record of either the baby's birth or his death.
According to friends, the couple had previously spoken of losing a baby years earlier, and a photo on Kaycee's Facebook was found to show a sonogram image from 2015.
Meanwhile, crowdfunding service GoFundMe has said that the donations directed towards the Lands would be refunded to the donors.
"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," they added.
"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."