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'It's Just Sick': Couple Allegedly Fakes Birth, Death Of Baby In Elaborate GoFundMe Scam
"I don't know if they were doing it for the money," said a family friend the couple allegedly asked to host a gender reveal party for the nonexistent baby.
Pennsylvania couple Geoffrey and Kaycee Lang allegedly faked the birth — and the death — of their newborn son in order to scam cash from unsuspecting friends, family, and strangers, who believed they were helping the family out with medical and funeral bills.
Police say the child never existed — and that the couple invented their pregnancy, and even staged a photo of a child’s doll, which they uploaded to Facebook and GoFundMe, to deceive strangers and acquaintances alike.
“Our son Easton was born with fluid in his lungs and passed away a few hours after he was born,” Geoffrey Lang, 27, wrote in a July 7 group post that purported to show a photo of the newborn. The post, which has since been deleted, was captured via screenshot and shared by some users once the couple was charged.
The family, who claimed their son had succumbed to respiratory failure, said they were reeling from medical and funeral expenses related to infant’s death — and used the group post to ask for donations, according to police.
Along the way, police say the Langs fabricated baby showers, gender reveal parties, gift registries — and eventually memorials and obituaries.
"He weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz, and was 17 inches long," stated an obituary the couple posted online to a local newspaper's website.
"Easton's parents were blessed with just a little over 5 hours before he went to his heavenly home at 8:20 am," the obituary read. "Easton experienced holding hands and hugs and kisses with his mommy and daddy and being told uncountable number of "I love you's".
The elaborate hoax reportedly began with a baby shower held at the family’s Westmoreland County home in May. The organizer, a friend of the family named Cynthia Dilascio, said the Langs approached her to to host a gender reveal party and baby shower for them. The woman, who later reported the couple to police, spent close to $300 on food and gifts the event. The Langs also took hundreds of dollars in clothes, strollers, gift cards, and diapers from other victims, and enrolled in a baby registry for Boscov’s department store, according to the probable cause statement.
Following the shower, the supposedly pregnant Lang vanished, Dilascio told officials. She also told WTAE-TV that Lang hadn’t shown any signs of being pregnant. Dilascio was suspicious and, following the child’s supposed passing, called the funeral home where the couple had supposedly cremated Easton. They had no record of the infant.
"I don't know if they were doing it for the money," Dilascio told WTAE-TV. "I don't know what their motive was to hurt your family and everybody — it’s just sick."
Dilascio said, the Langs, desperate to keep up the optics of their scam, also held a memorial for Easton, but that she refused to go.
“I knew that this was fake,” she told the local outlet. “I couldn’t go and sit and watch this go on and know the truth.”
Dilascio, who then reported the couple to police, didn’t respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
Police contacted local hospitals and funeral homes, and found no record of the Langs' child ever existing; they have since charged the couple with theft and deception, according to a probable cause statement obtained by Oxygen.com.
“Hindman Funeral Home confirmed they did not cremate Easton Lang,” authorities said.
“Kaycee reported that the baby was born on 07/03/19 at 0311 hours at Conemaugh Memorial Hospital,” the probable cause statement read. “He had Respiratory Distress Syndrome and died hours after birth. Kaycee was discharged from the hospital when Easton died. She claimed there was no reason for her to be at the hospital since she did not have a baby anymore.”
Geoffrey, the father, told police he wasn’t at the hospital for the birth or death of his son.
Following the execution of a search warrant at the couple’s home in Cook Township, police discovered the doll they suspect the couple photographed and uploaded to Facebook.
“Pictures of the baby were posted on Kaycee and Geoffrey’s Facebook pages,” according to the probable cause statement. “The baby matched the appearance of a new-born look-a-like baby doll.”
Representatives of GoFundMe, which indicated a total of 15 people donated to the Lang’s campaign, said they will issue refunds to donors who gave money to the Langs on their site.
"This type of behavior is not tolerated on GoFundMe,” the crowdfunding site said in a statement to WTAE-TV. “We will fully cooperate with law enforcement officials during their investigation and we will issue full refunds to all donors. We have a zero tolerance policy for any misuse on the platform.”