In an interesting set of coincidences, the charlatan identified in the story below, Beccah Beushausen, apparently lives in the same Chicago suburb as me, Mokena, IL, established her p.o. box in Oak Lawn, where Christ Hospital is located, and asked that donations be sent to the local pregnancy care center I support, Pregnancy Aid South Suburbs, which has now been implicated through no fault of its own.
This led one commenter on another blog to write, “Was the blogger suffering from a sort of Jill Stanek attention envy, or is she a Jill Stanek confederate?” I don’t think so, but the coincidences are indeed strange. I checked my emails and don’t think she contacted me to publicize her pseudo-tragedy. I can imagine how taken we on this blog would feel had I done so.
From the Associated Press, June 12…
The story was compelling: An unmarried IL mother chose to carry her terminally ill child to term rather than have an abortion because of her deep Christian faith.
It was all a hoax.
For 2 months, the suburban Chicago woman wrote about her pregnancy, her fears and her hopes on a blog that drew nearly a million hits to her Web site. Followers promised to pray for her and her baby, April Rose. They sent letters and gifts to a p.o. box she listed online.
But when “April’s Mom” wrote on Sunday that her baby had died hours after being delivered at home – and posted photos – supporters soon realized they’d been duped.
One of the followers recognized the “baby” swaddled in white blankets as a lifelike doll that she had in her own home.
“As soon as I saw that picture, I knew it was a scam,” said Elizabeth Russell, a doll maker from Buffalo.
There never was a pregnancy, only a 26-year-old social worker named Beccah Beushausen [pictured left] from suburban Mokena who said she always liked to write. Angry followers on dozens of Christian parenting Web sites helped expose Beushausen’s identity.
Beushausen’s Web site had been removed by Friday….
Beushausen said she started the blog in March to help recover from the loss of a son shortly after his birth in 2005, but then became addicted to the attention it was generating.
“Soon I was getting 100,000 hits a week, and it just got out of hand,” Beushausen told the Chicago Tribune for a story Friday. “I didn’t know how to stop…. One lie led to another.”
Beushausen told readers that her unborn child had Trisomy 13 syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that can cause severe mental retardation and death. She also concocted a father for the child, and called him “D.”
In a cached blog entry dated June 1, almost a week before she would post a fictional account of the child’s birth, Beushausen writes about a supposed doctor’s checkup that day, saying her estimated delivery date was likely off by a week. She also wrote about how she would panic if she didn’t feel her baby move.
“To me, this is the perfect time for God to show himself. For God to heal April. For a miracle to occur,” she wrote….
“I feel emotionally exploited,” said Jennifer McKinney of MN, who now said it seems Beushausen seemed overly concerned with attracting hits to her Web site. McKinney, who writes a Christian blog, said Beushausen asked for help promoting her blog….
There is no evidence Beushausen committed a crime or received any significant financial gain.
She said she plans to write one final blog, to apologize.
“I know what I did was wrong,” said Beushausen, who said she’s been getting hate mail. “I’m sorry because people were so emotionally involved.”
Here is a link to Beushausen’s cached site.
Giving Beushausen the benefit of the doubt, she is a troubled young woman. At worst she is a merciless attention seeker, preying on kindhearted Christians and parents of terminally children. She even included an embed code on her site for blogs to post a link.
[HT: moderator Carder, Fran at Illinois Review; photo attribution: Fox News]