MODESTO, Calif. (CBS13) — Two women were arrested after allegedly begging for donations to pay for the funeral of a dead baby that doesn’t exist, authorities said.
The Modesto Police Department said 27-year-old Tiffany Lyon of Modesto and 20-year-old Chasity Doll of Sun City stood near busy intersections over the weekend with a sign of a baby boy and asked motorists to help pay for costs associated with his death.
Officers responded to an intersection near Vintage Faire Mall on Saturday after drivers reported that the two women were entering the roadway to collect the donations, creating a traffic hazard.
Lyon and Doll told two officers that their son, Justin Michael Farrell, died at a Modesto hospital on June 6 from a heart condition while they were on vacation.
When officers asked for specific details about where the child died, the doctor’s name, or the child’s city of birth, the women evaded the questions, authorities said.
After checking for recent infant deaths in the area, investigators questioned the women further and discovered the picture had been downloaded off the internet, according to the Modesto Police Department.
Authorities said the two women collected $640 in donations before officers discovered the ruse. Both suspects were arrested for taking money under false pretenses and conspiring to defraud the public.