10 Investigates: Mother May Have Faked Claims Of Son’s Cancer


A Utica mother faces allegations that she faked a terminal illness following an investigation by 10 Investigates and local police officers.

Emily King posted claims that her 4-year-old son, JJ, had cancer known as pleuropulmonary blastoma.

King posted on Facebook pages called "Prayers for JJ", "Patches for JJ" and "Champions for (JJ's) Family," according to Internet records and interviews.

Upper Arlington resident Amanda Webb said she saw King's claims of cancer and seizures.  

King stated JJ "had brain cancer" and "that he had 18 months to live," Webb said.  

In one post, King wrote, "On Dec. 14, 2012, JJ was diagnosed with pleuropulmonary blastoma...Cancer...My baby just 4 years old...CANCER," according to documents provided by people who say they were tricked by King.

Columbus firefighters opened their station to King and JJ.

Pictures show the boy dressed in firefighting gear as he toured a station and climbed on trucks.

Cell phone video shows JJ and a firefighter using a fire hose together.

Support groups used Facebook to urge people to send King money and other forms of support.

Photos posted on the Internet show piles of patches for uniforms apparently sent by fire and police personnel.

Along the way, Webb got suspicious.         

"When I asked who the oncologist was, I got kicked (off the Facebook page)," Webb said.

After Webb called 10 Investigates, the unit tracked down questionable statements by King.

The station found evidence that suggested King misrepresented herself and her child’s illness.

Webb and a former supporter said King made repeated claims that she worked at Nationwide Children’s' Hospital as a nurse.

One of the Facebook pages also said the same thing.

However, the hospital denied it employed King in any capacity. State licensing authorities have no record that King was ever licensed as a nurse in Ohio.

Records obtained by 10 Investigates show that King was once registered to work as a nurse's aide. However, that registration expired in 2009.

10 Investigates also determined that JJ's prescription drugs do not appear to be cancer-related.

A source close to the family identified the drugs as Onfi and Zonisamide. Those drugs treat seizures, but are not generally used to treat cancer, according to descriptions by the drugs' makers.

The Utica Police Department has conducted its own investigation.

Detective Damian Smith calls the cancer claim "fraudulent."

"We have confirmed (JJ) does not have cancer," Smith said. Smith asked people who gave money to King's cause to call the Utica Police Department.

Smith is planning to meet with a Licking County prosecutor on Tuesday to pursue possible criminal charges.

However, he said so far, he has not taken a complaint from anybody that actually gave money to King.

"This is an ongoing investigation," Smith said. "We need all of the tips we can get our hands on."

10 Investigates spoke to a New York woman who said she gave nearly $400 in gift cards.

She also said that she enlisted relatives who work for the NYPD to send patches to JJ.

On Monday evening, King’s father told 10 Investigates that he believed his daughter’s story and said he even paid for his grandson’s cancer medication. He said that he turned the receipts over to his daughter.
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