GYPSUM, Colo. (AP) – The story began circulating in October: A boy with leukemia had moved with his family to spend his final days in the Colorado mountains.
The Eagle Valley High School team in Gypsum drew inspiration from the tale and dedicated a game to the 9-year-old boy known as Alex. A radio station took up the cause, and a Facebook page bearing his picture drew more than 1,000 followers.
However, the story began to unravel when he failed to show up at the game, and the woman spreading the story said he suffered a seizure and could not attend. It wasn’t long before she said he had died.
She submitted an obituary to local media, but no one could find a death certificate, The Vail Daily (
Police are now calling the story a hoax and investigating whether it violated any laws.
“This story just shows the best of human nature and the worst of human nature,” said Holli Snyder, general manager of NRC Broadcasting, parent company of KSKE, which broadcast the story.
Authorities are trying to determine if the 22-year-old woman who spread the story collected any money from the hoax, Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said Thursday.
So far, they haven’t found any evidence that she did.
“It hinges on whether any money was taken,” Hurlbert said about the possibility of charges.
The woman has not been identified by authorities. The photo of the boy was traced to a Kids Cancer Crusade website and turned out to a South African boy who is still alive.
People told the newspaper they felt guilty about perpetuating the hoax but proud about the way the community came together to support a child and make his final days happy ones.
“This story took my heart,” said disc jockey Jordon Lyles, who played songs dedicated to Alex at a fall festival. “We are all just good people, when it comes right down to it.”
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- 12 things to watch before the Oscars
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Best and worst of Super Bowl commercials
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Operation Santa Claus needs holiday help
- This college bowl season is likely to be epic
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night