An Atlantic woman is facing charges after police say she claimed her five-year-old daughter had terminal cancer in a scheme to collect cash from local residents.
Cass County Attorney Dan Feistner says 30-year old Leatha Kaye Slauson was arrested early Friday morning. “We are confident, at least from the information that we’ve received, that the child in question was not suffering from a life-threatening cancer, as was reported by her mother,” Feistner said at a press conference Friday afternoon.
Several fundraising events have been organized in recent months to help the family with their medical and travel costs. Slauson had said donations would also help pay for her daughter’s “dream” to visit Disney World.
Feistner said the investigation into the matter stemmed from an inquiry by Atlantic Community School District officials into how to best provide for a child with special needs.
Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green advised citizens to no longer donate to the “Super Riley Fund” established for the little girl, but they should not stop contributing to other, legitimate causes. “This isn’t the first time this community has stepped up for people, we do it for everybody,” Green said. “I don’t think the hearts of the people of this community are going to be hardened by it. I think everybody’s hurt right now, but everybody’s going to heal.”
Feistner said thousands of dollars have been raised for the family, but an exact amount was not known. Two websites established for the girl, however, have totaled over $7,600 in donations.
For now, Slauson is charged with child endangerment and distribution of drugs to a child under the age of 18. Slauson is accused of giving her daughter cannabis oil.
by Ric Hansen, KJAN / additional reporting by Pat Curtis, Radio Iowa