A young couple from Pennsylvania deceived family and friends by faking the birth and death of a baby boy to get gifts and money.
Married couple Kaycee and Geoffrey Lang have both been charged with theft by deception and receiving stolen property after collecting donations for the baby’s ‘funeral’ through a GoFundMe page.
The Langs even wrote an obituary for their ‘son’, who they named Easton Walt Lang; claiming he had been born July 3 before living for just five hours. It later emerged the picture they had used had actually been of a doll, discovered by police at their home.
The ruse began when 23-year-old Kaycee pretended to be pregnant, sharing pictures of her baby bump on Facebook. She received various gifts at a baby shower. During the last two months of her ‘pregnancy’, Kaycee claimed to require bed rest.
As reported by Fox 13, Kaycee and Geoffrey, 27, announced the birth of a son, Easton, on July 3; posting images which appeared to show a newborn. Mere hours later the couple revealed the little boy had died from respiratory distress syndrome.
In an online obituary, the Langs claimed Easton had been born at Conemaugh Memorial Hospital at 3.11am, weighing seven pounds two ounces.
The fake obituary read:
Easton’s parents were blessed with just a little over 5 hours before he went to his heavenly home at 8.20 am Easton experienced holding hands and hugs and kisses with his mommy and daddy and being told uncountable number of ‘I love yous’.
A GoFundMe page was quickly set up to raise money for Easton’s funeral, with the couple making the following emotive plea:
Please keep my wife and I in your thoughts and prayer. Our son Easton was born with fluid in his lungs and passed away a few hours after he was born.
We would greatly appreciate if as many of you guys could share this and if u are stable enough to do so is donate also to help pay for the funeral expenses and medical bills.
The couple even went as far as to hold a memorial service for the supposedly deceased child following his apparent ‘cremation’. However, not everyone was buying the tragic story.
As reported by WTAE, Kaycee’s friend Cynthia Dilascio became suspicious of their version of events and decided to contact the funeral home where Easton had supposedly been cremated:
The baby had fluid in his lungs, but [the hospital] gave him back to her and said he’ll be fine. I knew this was fake. I couldn’t go and sit and watch this go on.
The funeral home informed Cynthia they had no record of an Easton Lang having been cremated there, a revelation which prompted her to contact the police. It later emerged there was no hospital record of Easton’s birth, with the coroner’s office having no record of his death.
Pennsylvania State Police have since said the couple had been motivated to carry out their complicated scheme in order to obtain gifts and money.
GoFundMe have released the following statement on the Lands’ fraudulent page:
This type of behaviour is not tolerated on GoFundMe. 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. This campaign received 15 donations totalling $550.
Kaycee and Geoffrey Lang are both due to appear before court in October.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.