Two parents from Florida have been charged with child abuse and fraud after allegedly falsely telling their 13-year-old son he had terminal brain cancer in an attempt to raise money for "medical and funeral expenses".
According to an Okaloosa County arrest report obtained by WEARTV, Ginny Irovando told her son he had seven brain tumours in May 2017 before she set up a fundraiser at his school six months later.
A GoFundMe page, which raised $1,000 (£720) for the boy's funeral, was also discovered by police.
Authorities were alerted by a resource officer at the school to the possibility that the boy was being exploited and people defrauded. Irovando was arrested with her partner Robert Long.
Investigators spoke to the child's doctor and examined medical records to find that the boy was healthy. They added that he had believed what his parents were said to have told him and thought he was going to die.
In a police interview he said the fake diagnosis made him scared.
Okaloosa County police took the boy and his siblings away from their parents. A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Families said the children had been taken into foster care pending the outcome of the investigation.
WEAR also spoke to Janet Cooper, a mother who lost her son Bryant to cancer in November 2016 at the age of 19. "How could they put a death sentence on their own child?" she asked.
"There is no jail, no prison system in our society, that will do to them what they would have endured if their son did truly have brain cancer."