INDIANAPOLIS - A 32-year-old mother of seven was arrested and charged with theft and forgery after police say she told others her son had cancer, even though he didn’t.
Police said Stephanie Weddle got away with at least $2,000 in donations, and used the money for herself.
Detectives said the worst part was that she actually told her 10-year-old son that he did have cancer.
Police said it all started when Weddle took her son to the hospital for asthma treatment. Doctors later determined the boy was OK, but in the meantime, Weddle told family and friends that the boy had cancer.
"Once she did that, they started to give her attention, they started to give her money, and once that happened, she kind of fed off that," Detective Sgt. Eric Eads said.
Several people jumped in to help when they heard the boy was sick.
The boy’s former wrestling coach used social media to help raise more than $1,200.
Pin Cancer is a national organization that was started by a former wrestler to fight cancer.
The founder took to twitter to show both support and feelings of being defrauded.
"When they contacted us regarding this situation and, you know, it's just doing the right thing, he's a wrestler, he's supposedly diagnosed with cancer then you know, obviously, we'll write a blog about it and get it out there," Dan Tramontozzi said.
Weddle’s claims caught a suspicious eye this summer when one of her son’s baseball coaches didn’t see any signs of the boy suffering from the effects of chemotherapy or radiation. The coach is also an officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Investigators found documents, allegedly forged by Weddle, that gave her son permission to continue playing baseball.
"It was signed by a Dr. Jones. He had called the Southwest Community health centers. There is no Dr. Jones there, so once he found that out, he brought it to me to investigate,” Eads said.
Investigators said Weddle told them she used the money on bills and sports registrations for her kids.
Police said the Indianapolis Black Firefighters Association was also planning to help raise money for the boy.
Follow Drew Smith on Twitter: @drewsmith1