Police: Mother told son he had cancer, lied to community for personal gain
A mother is behind bars, accused of forging documents and scamming people out of money after she made them believe her son had cancer.
Stephanie Weddle, 32, is charged with two counts of forgery and one count of theft. She is accused of receiving about $2,000 in donations that she ended up using for personal expenses.
“She stated that she used it to pay a few utilities, gasoline for her car, and she also stated she paid some sport registration fees for her other kids with this money,” said IMPD Detective Sgt. Eric Eads.
Eads said Weddle told people her son had small cell lung cancer. People raised money to help Weddle pay for son’s medical bills.
“Yeah this is pretty low as far as telling, Number one, your kid (that) he’s sick and then having him play along with it. (It’s) pretty low,” Eads said.
Fox 59 covered a fundraising effort in February that was put together by the boy’s wrestling coach. The coach, Jake O’Neill, learned about the story and wanted to help. O’Neill grew out his beard, raised money and handed it over to help pay for the boy’s medical bills.
“[He's] got such a great personality, super sharp, straight A student. I love what I do because of opportunities like this. There’s nothing that can warm your heart as much as something like this,” O’Neill said in a previous interview.
Previously, Fox59 also interviewed Weddle about the fundraiser.
She told us, “I want to say thank you to everyone whether I know you or don’t. I (want to say) thank you.”
Eads said an IMPD officer, who also coaches the boy’s baseball team, questioned Weddle’s story about her son.
“He got suspicious of the illness ’cause the child never seemed to get ill. I mean, he always looked fine and always had plenty of energy. (The officer) was concerned it was a scam and asked me to look into it,” Eads said.
Eads and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation. They called different hospitals and were told none of them treated the boy. Eads said Weddle forged a ‘certificate for return to work or school’, which was taken from her doctor’s office. He said she created a phony document from Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, as well, in order for her son to be allowed to play again.
“We talked to her at length about this and one of the things we told her was she needs to get him help, as far as some psychological help,” Eads said.
Weddle was arrested Thursday morning. She is behind bars and has a 14-day hold because she was already on probation for a battery charge. Authorities tell Fox59 Weddle has a bond.
Fox59 obtained court documents, Thursday afternoon. Those documents, detectives said, showed that Weddle admitted the entire story was made up.
“Stephanie Weddle admitted her son…never had cancer. Stephanie Weddle said she took her son in for asthma and the doctor said they saw a spot on his lungs while examining an x-ray,” court documents said.
“Stephanie Weddle told the people on the baseball and wrestling team about the spot and it may be cancer. Stephanie Weddle then was notified by a physician it was not cancer and nothing to worry about.
“Stephanie Weddle said after telling the people about her son having cancer they all began to help her financially and she kept up the ruse and accepted the money,” court documents said.
Eads said Weddle made her son believe he had cancer, as well as family members and her other children.
According to IMPD, CPS has taken Weddle’s children away. Eads said the agency has been checking on the welfare of her kids for the past couple of weeks. DCS confirms they recently received a report about this family. They confirmed the agency previously had contact with the family.
Fox59 tried to contact Weddle about these claims but she did not comment.
Detective Sgt. Eads said if people have any additional information or believe they were a victim, they need to call the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office at (317) 327-5600.