Couple charged in cancer hoax, elder abuse

Feb. 10, 2011 at 10:49 PM
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GREENWOOD COUNTY, S.C., Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A South Carolina couple face multiple charges for allegedly neglecting the woman's father and running a scam in which they said their daughter had cancer.

Alicia Kelly, 38, and Steven Kelly, 39, of Greenwood County allegedly convinced their 15-year-old daughter she had cancer, gave her blood pressure medication they told her was "chemo medicine," and told the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and other groups she was sick, ABC News reported Thursday.

"A few months into it, the daughter figured out she didn't have cancer," said Maj. John Murray of the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office, who added authorities got a tip and arrested the couple on a warrant for phony checks on Feb 4.

Police asked the state Department of Health and Environmental Health Control for the girl's medical records and discovered she was not on any cancer drug treatment.

On further interrogation, police discovered some of the checks were in Kelly's father's name and they thought she may be stealing from his bank account.

"We asked her where he was so we could interview him, and she said he was dead in a local trailer out in the county and had been dead since November, When we conducted a search of the trailer we found a body on its side on the floor in a little camper trailer, and the body was already mummified," Murray said.

He said upon investigation, they determined the elderly man died in 2009.

Alicia Kelly was charged with felony of neglect of a vulnerable adult that results in death, which carries a prison sentence of 30 years.

Both parents are charged with two counts of swindling for money and for claiming their daughter had cancer, and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

It was unclear how much money the pair allegedly swindled.

The Kelly's daughter is currently living in Greenwood with her paternal grandparents and her other siblings, ages 13, 12, 3 and 2.

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