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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon