BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KSDK) – Police say an unidentified woman the community rallied around when she claimed she had terminal cancer was lying, according to a news release.
NewsChannel 5 spoke with the people who tipped off police to the situation. They asked us to keep their identities anonymous. They say the suspect first claimed she was suffering from cancer more than two years ago. Then, they say they recently started noticing inconsistencies in their stories. That's when they alerted police, who launched their own investigation, and say they found she did not have cancer.
"We made the choice that was right for us, and it wasn't out of anything malicious. We did what we thought was right at the time, and what we thought we needed to do. And above all else, we did what we thought was best for her kids," one of the tipsters told NewsChannel 5.
Police say their ensuing investigation revealed that the woman did not have cancer.
About $1,400 cash was raised at JR's Last Call in May, for a woman they thought was dying of ovarian cancer.
"The deepest form of being a lowlife in my eyes to fake a disease like cancer that so many people fight and lose it's just, it's unconceivable that someone could do it," bar manager Pam Bruce said.
She says they've seen tragedy before.
In January, a bartender named Chris died of breast cancer.
Bruce says Chris and the woman now accused of faking cancer had become friends.
We did go to the woman's house, where we spoke briefly with a woman who says she's the suspect's mother-in-law. She told us the woman does have cancer.
Belleville Police say they've presented preliminary information to the St. Clair County State Attorney's office, and expect the warrant review process to be finished by Wednesday morning. The suspect is currently in police custody.
Bruce says the worst part is knowing the woman's five kids may have also been played.
"That somebody could lie and her kids knew, thought every day that she was dying, that, I just don't see how somebody could do that," Bruce said.
No additional information will be available until that process is complete.