Ohio mom charged with faking 7-year-old daughter’s cancer to raise thousands in donations

An Ohio woman has been charged after she falsely claimed her 7-year-old daughter had cancer and raked in thousands of dollars in donations. 

Pamela Reed, 41, of Pleasant City, was arrested Monday and charged with theft by deception, a fourth-degree felony, the Noble County Sheriff’s Office announced in a news release.

The sheriff’s office and the county’s Department of Job and Family Services were notified on Jan. 4. about a local child who had been falsely publicly portrayed to be fighting cancer. 

The sheriff’s department and child services detectives investigated the claims and confirmed that the child didn’t have cancer.

“Several local organizations had participated in fundraising efforts and had made monetary contributions to help the family offset medical expenses,” police said. The investigation found one local organization had donated $8,000 to the family to aid with their alleged cancer treatment expenses. 

Noble County Jail and Sheriff's Office in Caldwell, Ohio.
The Noble County Jail and Sheriff’s Office in Caldwell, Ohio.Google Maps

On the Facebook page, the family appeared to post and share updates about the child’s health — sharing photos of the child in the hospital and posting about a hog roast fundraiser in October.

Four days after the sheriff’s office was tipped off, it interviewed Reed, and she “admitted during questioning that she had exaggerated and fabricated medical conditions to receive monetary donations from local organizations.”

Her bond has been set at $50,000. It wasn’t immediately clear whether she has a lawyer.

Sheriff Jason Mackie and Misty Wells, the director of the family services department, said in a statement: “Child abuse and neglect isn’t always cut and dry, cookie cutter scenarios. If you as a professional or as a member of our community feel like something just isn’t quite right, don’t hesitate, make the report. The grit and devotion of this team is inspiring.”

It isn’t the first time parents have faked children’s illnesses and used well-intentioned donations to fund their own lifestyles.

Perhaps the highest-profile case is that of Gypsy Rose Blanchard. She was released from jail last month after serving time on a second-degree murder charge in connection with the slaying in June 2015 of her mother, Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard, who abused Gypsy Rose and forced her to fake serious illness.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard testified that her mother took her to doctors all her life for various conditions, including leukemia and muscular dystrophy, and forced her to use a wheelchair and an oxygen tank that she didn’t actually need.

In 2021, also in Ohio, a woman named Lindsey Abbuhl was accused of faking her daughter’s terminal illness and raising thousands to fund trips and other expenses. An investigation found there was no evidence to support that her child was terminally ill.