EDINBURG, Texas, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Authorities in Texas said they arrested a mother accused of shaving her 7-year-old daughter's head and fraudulently claiming the child had cancer.
The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office said Juanita Garcia, 46, organized multiple fundraisers to obtain money she claimed was needed for her 7-year-old daughter's cancer treatments.
The sheriff's office said a joint investigation with Child Protective Services found Garcia would tell people in person and on social media that the child was terminal and had only months to live.
Authorities said Garcia went so far as to shave her daughter's head and actually convinced the child she was suffering from the disease.
However, investigators said the girl was actually in perfect health, and Garcia admitted during questioning that she had made up the cancer story to scam money out of generous strangers.
"The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office is urging the community to verify and confirm information from fundraisers that they choose to participate in. In many cases, asking questions and utilizing good common-sense approaches can prevent someone from being the target of a fraudulent scheme. Legitimate organizations, groups, or persons who are fundraising will have ways to verify and confirm information about their events," the sheriff's office said.
Garcia was booked into the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center on a felony charge of exploitation of a child. She was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bond.