A Somerset couple is facing charges after they allegedly faked a pregnancy and then the death of a newborn baby and collected almost $600 in donations for funeral costs and gifts, state police said.
Geoffrey and Kaycee Lang, of Somerset Township, also allegedly hosted a baby shower to receive gifts, officers said. They had received some of the funds through a GoFundMe page.
The couple is charged with theft, theft by deception and receiving stolen property after a woman informed police the couple faked the incident, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
According to those arrest papers, Kaycee Lang gave birth to “Easton Walt Lang” on July 3 at 3:11 a.m. at Conemaugh Memorial Hospital. The baby died hours later after suffering from respiratory distress syndrome, a breathing disorder found in newborn babies, Geoffrey Lang told police, adding the baby had fluid on his lungs and a heart condition.
He said he was not present at the birth.
Kaycee Lang was discharged shortly after the bogus birth and death, saying “there was no reason for her to be at the hospital since she did not have a baby anymore,” the affidavit reads.
The couple posted pictures of a newborn on their Facebook pages, police said.
Geoffrey Lang told police the baby was cremated by Hindman Funeral Home. The facility later denied performing funeral services for the baby.
The Cambria County Coroner’s Office, the Somerset County Coroner’s Office, Conemaugh Memorial Hospital and Conemaugh Memorial OB/GYN confirmed there was no record of the baby or Kaycee Lang having been a patient.
Police obtained a search warrant on Aug. 6 for the Kent Lane home. There officers said they found a lifelike baby doll and an urn personalized with the baby’s name.
Officers later said the doll matched pictures posted on the couple’s social media pages.
Three days later a GoFundMe page was set up by a woman at the request of Geoffrey Lang’s mother, police said. There the couple collected cash, and friends gifted groceries, gas and gift cards.
One person split the cost of the urn with the couple, officials said.
At the baby shower, the couple received outfits, diapers, wipes and a basket.
GoFundMe spokesperson Meghan Scripture issued the following statement regarding the incident:
“This type of behavior 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 totaling $550.”
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter.
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