Stark County Sheriff: Canton, Ohio mother under investigation for allegedly faking daughter’s illness to get donations
Lindsey Abbuhl said Rylee Abbuhl had terminal illness and raised thousands of dollars for medical expenses
CANTON, Ohio (WOIO) - It seems Lindsey Abbuhl had the entire community fooled.
In a News Talk 1480 WHBC-AM broadcast live-streamed March 1, 2021, host Jon Bozeka said “We’re joined by Lindsey and Rylee Abbuhl this morning. Their story being told right now on WHBC as Rylee is suffering from a life-threatening illness and joined by her mother to tell this story this morning.”
That radio program was one of many raising awareness for a Canton child suffering from an incurable disease. At least that was what the community was led to believe. Fundraisers, charity events, free tickets and donations poured in from all over the country.
“For her, I know she’s definitely overwhelmed. You know, we’ve been dealing with this for 2 years and it’s always just been us and our very close friends who’ve been with us,” said Lindsey Abbuhl on the broadcast.
The Stark County Sheriff’s Office confirms it has received allegations that 11-year-old Rylee doesn’t have a terminal illness and isn’t dying.
Last week investigators received an anonymous tip and opened an investigation.
A GoFundMe campaign called ‘Rylee’s Warriors’ raised an excess of $4,500 before it was shut down.
19 News caught up with Rylee’s father, Jamie Abbuhl, who is divorced from Lindsey Abbuhl.
He says right now, his main concern is his daughter’s well-being.
“Just trying to set the record straight. Did you know? Did you have any idea?” asked 19 News Reporter, Sia Nyorkor.
“Absolutely not. No. There’s no way I would have let it get this far if I’d known anything. It’s sad,” said Jamie Abbuhl. “She’s the greatest little girl in the world. She’s the best. And she’s a strong kid and we’re gonna work through this and make things better.
He told 19 News he could get physical custody of his daughter as early as Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for GoFundMe tells 19 News the company’s Trust & Safety team is investigating. If a donor requests a refund, the company will immediately fulfill the request and process the refund.
A deputy from Stark County Sheriff’s Office tells 19 News, the prosecutor’s office is reviewing the case and that the decision on criminal charges could come as early as next week.
Copyright 2021 WOIO. All rights reserved.