(KTVI) – Police in Troy, Illinois accused a woman of deceiving people by telling them she had cancer and her son had leukemia in order to get donations. Police said the woman and her little boy are not sick.
The suspect is 25 year old Melissa Barton. Barton said, “All I want to do is clear my name.”
Police said Barton told a Maryville church she and her son had cancer and she needed $600 to pay the rent. The church paid her rent. Barton insisted she never claimed to church leaders that she and her son were sick.
The church, which did not press charges and does not want its money returned, said on the form Barton filled out she did claim that she had cancer and her son had leukemia.
Barton said, “I would like to see that because somebody must have forged my hand writing or signature because I didn’t write it.”
Troy police said Barton also used websites to solicit donations. They worry this case could hurt people who are really sick and in need.
Troy Police Chief Brad Parsons said, “For people who want to help it’s frustrating for us because it will make them more hesitant to help.”
Barton claimed someone she doesn’t know set up those donation requests after reading Barton’s Facebook Page. Barton said on the internet she feared the lump in her breast was cancerous and her two year old boy was being tested.
Barton added, “I wouldn’t show my face if I thought I was even close to doing what they said I was doing.”
Chief Parsons said, “We’re positive it happened when she knew she didn’t have cancer.” Barton insisted she was not lying but other people were. Police are not sure how much money Barton collected. They said the amount is somewhere between $500 and $10,000.
Barton claimed since the charges were filed she’s been threatened by people.