Leatha Slauson, a mum from Iowa, has been arrested and charged with child endangerment for pretending her five-year-old daughter Riley had terminal cancer.
She had been collecting money from her community through a fundraising campaign called the Super Riley Fund.
She had asked for money and favours in order to cross things off her daughter’s ‘bucket list’.
Among other things received a free trip to Walt Disney World and organised for her daughter to ride in a firetruck as the little girl wants to be a firefighter.
In April the county Fire Chief made Riley an honorary firefighter, and a local firefighter walked 16 miles around the neighbourhood collecting money for the girl.
The truth came out when Riley’s school, looking into how they could best care for her in her last months, discovered the medical contacts Leatha has provided were false.
The school reported the situation to the police, who discovered that Riley was in perfect health.
The lengths Leatha went to maintain the lies are extremely alarming. She went on television to raise awareness and ask for donations, and had an online fundraising page with regular updates.
Worst of all, Riley appeared in photographs with her head shaved and tubes in her nose, and was photographed taking cannabis oil.
Leatha now faces drug charges as well as child endangerment charges.
Leatha’s other four children have been placed in the custody of their father, who was devastated to learn what had been going on, saying he was “struggling with how to proceed in his life” after hearing the news.