Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
An Ohio 11-year-old spent the last three years with a counselor trying to “process her own death” as she courageously battled a terminal illness—but new evidence suggests her mother may have been lying about her daughter’s ailments to countless charities, college softball players and concerned community members who all stepped in to offer help.
Stark County Sheriff’s Sgt. Craig Kennedy confirmed to Oxygen.com that authorities have now launched an investigation into the shocking allegations against 34-year-old Lindsey Abbuhl, who some believe used her daughter’s supposed illness to line her own pocketbook.
“It’s an ongoing investigation at this time,” Kennedy said.
He declined to provide additional details into the case, but confirmed that 11-year-old Rylee Abbuhl is no longer in her mother’s custody.
During a hearing on Friday, a County Family Court judge placed Rylee in the custody of her father, Jamie Abbuhl, as the investigation into her health continues, according to The Canton Repository.
Lindsey is not currently facing any formal charges; however, a neglect and abuse complaint filed by Children Services accuses her of “using Rylee’s ‘medical condition’ to obtain funding for trips, housing and other expenses for the last several years.”
To support the allegations, the report includes details from a medical professional who reviewed the child’s extensive medical records and reached a troubling conclusion.
“There is no evidence to support mother’s claims that Rylee is terminally ill,” the document states.
The report also details regular counseling sessions that the child participated in over the last three years to help her “process her own death,” with Lindsay even allegedly going so far as to claim that her daughter “may not be alive” when the counselor returned from planned maternity leave, according to the court document obtained by the paper.
When Child Services authorities went to the home on Thursday to investigate, Lindsey denied fabricating her daughter’s illness.
She has allegedly claimed that Rylee suffers from a fatal central nervous system malfunction, which she chronicled over the years on social media.
“This little lady is my best friend! Continue to say prayers for her as we navigate through her medical concerns,” one post said, according to the paper. “We don’t know what her future holds, and we don’t know if tomorrow will come for her each time we go to bed but the prayers and faith of all those we love helps keep us going!”
In a separate filing in family court, Jamie Abbuhl has alleged that his ex-wife set up fundraisers and GoFundMe accounts to collect donations for their daughter, according to WEWS-TV.
In March, Lindsey posted on Facebook about a “Rylee’s Warriors” youth softball tournament at the end of April set up to raise money for “Rylee Abbuhl and her family for medical and living expenses.”
“Looking for more teams!,” Lindsey wrote at the time.
After hearing of the young girl’s plight over the years, the community responded in earnest.
In February, college softball players from Malone and Walsh Universities held a “Rylee Day” scrimmage in her honor after learning that being a college softball player had been on the girl’s bucket list, The Canton Repository reports.
“In trying to get her as close to that as possible in the last remaining time she has, Walsh and Malone will play a scrimmage at Hall of Fame Fitness center,” a description of the event read, adding that Rylee would be throwing out the first pitch.
The college players also reached out to other players—both college level and professional—across the country to gather well wishes and personalized videos for Rylee, including a message from professional player Sierra Romero.
The day of the event, Lindsey told the local paper her daughter had just “two months” to live.
In response to the media coverage, Texas A&M’s softball team invited the mother and daughter to fly to College Station to see the team. Lindsey and Rylee also made time to visit Sea World during the trip.
It wasn’t their first vacation. In December, Lindsey and Rylee enjoyed another trip to Key West, Florida on behalf of the charity Wishes Can Happen.
The Ohio mom’s story started to be called into question, however, after members of the public began reaching out the local paper to question the story.
The Canton Repository asked multiple times for Lindsey to provide a copy of her daughter’s medical records, but she refused and claimed her daughter was being treated by a “whole team of doctors.”
Rylee’s dad, Jamie, told the paper that had also become increasingly concerned when his ex-wife continued to insist that Rylee was near death, even asking a friend to serve as a pallbearer at her funeral.
He said his daughter has slow digestion and constipation, but doesn’t believe her health issues extend beyond that.
“As far as her going to die … no,” he said.
While Lindsey had custody of their daughter, he said he regularly saw her for visits and loves her deeply.
“If she needed my heart, I’d give it to her today,” he said.
Lindsey has not only publicly claimed her daughter is facing a fatal illness, she also allegedly told others in the past that she was facing a terminal diagnosis.
In his recent court filing, Jamie alleged that Lindsey had once claimed that she had a brain tumor and was going to die and even began interviewing families to adopt Rylee after her death, WEWS reports.
The claims made in the case are eerily reminiscent of Claudine “Dee Dee” Blanchard and her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard. Dee Dee allegedly forced her daughter to undergo unnecessary medical treatments, including painful surgeries for years, claiming the girl had everything from leukemia to muscular dystrophy.
Gypsy Rose once told Dr. Phil that she endured 30 surgeries, including those to her eye, throat and salivary glands, was placed on a feeding tube and was forced to use a wheelchair for more than a decade while her mom suffered from Munchausen’s by proxy, a mental health condition causing a caregiver to make up or cause an illness to someone in their care for attention.
Gypsy Rose eventually decided to rebel against her mother and plotted with her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, to kill Dee Dee. The explosive case was explored in a two-hour special episode of Oxygen’s “Killer Couples.”
Gypsy Rose pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as part of a deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison, according to the Springfield News-Leader.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for Oxygen Insider for all the best true crime content.