(NEW YORK) — A Pennsylvania couple allegedly lied about the pregnancy, birth and death of their son and then fraudulently accepted gifts and money during the faux tragedy, according to court documents.
Geoffrey and Kaycee Lang are facing charges after allegedly claiming their son Easton Walt Lang was born on July 3 at Conemaugh Memorial Hospital and died hours later, according to court documents filed Thursday.
Officials with the hospital and local coroners offices told police they did not have a record of Kaycee or Easton Lang, according to a probable cause affidavit.
In an Aug. 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.
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 baby died from fluid in his lungs and his heart rate dropping below 50 bpm,” Geoffrey Lang allegedly told police, adding that his wife was discharged shortly after the death, according to documents.
The husband then told police Hindman Funeral Home conducted the cremation, a probable cause affidavit said. Employees of the Hindman Funeral Home, however, told troopers Easton Lang was not cremated there.
Pictures of the baby — which “matched the appearance of a newborn look-a-like baby doll” — were posted on the Langs’ Facebook pages, according to a probable cause affidavit.
At the Langs’ home, police found a lifelike baby doll and an urn personalized for “Easton Walt Lang,” documents said.
An unnamed woman told police she made a GoFundMe page for the Langs at the request of Geoffrey Lang’s mother, according to court documents. The woman said Kaycee Lang helped write a paragraph describing the need for money, documents said.
More than $600 in gift cards, groceries, gas money and cash were allegedly donated to the Langs, according to documents. One woman told police she gave the Langs money to help pay for the urn.
Another woman said she was invited to the baby shower and gave the couple clothes, diapers and wipes, according to documents.
Geoffrey and Kaycee Lang were charged with theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking of movable property and receiving stolen property. The Langs both have preliminary hearings set for Oct. 1.
They do not yet have attorneys.
Meghan Scripture, a GoFundMe spokeswoman, said the Langs’ campaign received 15 donations, totaling $550.
“This type of behavior is not tolerated on GoFundMe,” Scripture said in a statement. “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.”
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