Mom jailed after faking her 11-year-old daughter’s terminal cancer diagnosis for donations

Mom is jailed for six years after faking her 11-year-old daughter’s terminal cancer diagnosis for three years even parading her on local media to pocket thousands from a GoFundMe page called ‘Rylee’s Warriors’

  • Lindsey Abbuhl, 35, pleaded guilty to child endangering and theft
  • She told daughter Rylee she had a terminal diagnosis and tried to raise funds
  • Charity events were held in Rylee’s honor before the hoax was revealed 

An Ohio mother has been jailed for six years after pretending her 11-year-old daughter had cancer to pocket thousands of dollars in donations.

Lindsey Abbuhl, 35, from Canton, pleaded guilty to the hoax after she set up a fake GoFundMe page to solicit donations for her daughter Rylee, telling her she had a terminal diagnosis due to a failure of her central nervous system.

The page, Rylee’s Warriors, raised more than $4,500 before it was shut down by authorities.

She began fundraising for living and ‘medical expenses’, taking Rylee frequently to the doctors and telling her she was dying.

Charity events were held in Rylee’s honor, and the pair secured free tickets to Sea World and were made guests of honor at a Texas A&M softball game.

Lindsey Abbuhl, 35, from Canton, pleaded guilty to the hoax after she set up a fake GoFundMe page to solicit donations for her daughter Rylee

Lindsey Abbuhl, 35, from Canton, pleaded guilty to the hoax after she set up a fake GoFundMe page to solicit donations for her daughter Rylee

The page, Rylee's Warriors, raised more than $4,500 before it was shut down by authorities

The page, Rylee’s Warriors, raised more than $4,500 before it was shut down by authorities

The court granted full custody to Rylee's father, Jamie Abbuhl (pictured), who had divorced Lindsey in 2017 and raised the alarm

The court granted full custody to Rylee’s father, Jamie Abbuhl (pictured), who had divorced Lindsey in 2017 and raised the alarm

Rylee even began asking friends to be pall bearers at her own funeral.

Last year, a court found there was no evidence of any illness and Lindsey lost custody of her daughter.

The court granted full custody to Rylee’s father, Jamie Abbuhl, who had divorced Lindsey in 2017 and raised the alarm.

Now, Lindsey faces further punishment after she was sentenced to four to six years in prison and $8,529.90 in restitution to victims as part of her plea deal.

She admitted second degree child endangering and fourth degree theft.

Stark County Prosecutor Kyle Stone said: ‘Essentially, this plea was a way to bring closure to the several parties involved in this case. 

‘This was also the best way to avoid the possibility of further traumatizing a child that has already been through so much.’

Last year, a document obtained by The Canton Repository, notes a medical professional reviewed all of Rylee’s medical records involving neurology, genetics, gastrointestinal, hematology, rheumatology, pulmonology and podiatry and concluded:

‘There is no evidence to support mother’s claim that Rylee is terminally ill.’

Abbuhl seen with Rylee at a concert. The mother secured free tickets for shows and events

Abbuhl seen with Rylee at a concert. The mother secured free tickets for shows and events

Rylee has seen a counselor for the past three years to learn how to ‘process her own death,’ the report stated, without knowing the girl was not terminally ill.

‘(Lindsey) also told the counselor, who is going on maternity leave, that Rylee may not be alive when the counselor returns,’ the complaint states. 

The story began when Lindsey started telling friends and neighbors that her home-schooled daughter was sick.

Lindsey herself had once claimed to have a brain tumor, and had even interviewed families to adopt Rylee after she died.

The family seemed beset by bad luck, and Lindsey would document her daughter’s hospital visits on social medial.

‘This little lady is my best friend! Continue to say prayers for her as we navigate through her medical concerns,’ she posted.

A charity softball event, held last year, was covered by local media (above)

A charity softball event, held last year, was covered by local media (above)

‘We don’t know what her future holds, and we don’t know if tomorrow will come for her each time we go to bed but the prayers and faith of all those we love helps keep us going!’

A supervisor at a bowling lane, Lindsey would organize bowling fundraisers and arranged a ‘Rylee’s Warriors’ youth softball tournament in Plain Township to cover medical costs.

‘Come out and join a short fun league! 10 weeks long — will skip the Sunday of Easter.

‘Part of the weekly money goes to the bowling alley, the rest goes to Rylee. Message me if you’d like to sign up!’ 

Wishes Can Happen even sent Lindsey and her daughter on a trip to Key West, Florida.

Coaches and players from softball teams at Malone and Walsh universities joined for a ‘Rylee Day’ at Hall of Fame Fitness Center, an event surrounding an indoor exhibition game between the two Stark County schools.

Rylee Abbuhl had been seeing a counsellor to help her deal with the apparent terminal diagnosis

Rylee Abbuhl had been seeing a counsellor to help her deal with the apparent terminal diagnosis

Lindsey Abbuhl had previously claimed she had a brain tumor

Lindsey Abbuhl had previously claimed she had a brain tumor

Lindsey said Rylee’s organs were shutting down and the main goal for her was ‘quality of life.’

Personalized videos to Rylee were sent from the likes of pro star Sierra Romero, as well as dozens of colleges from Penn State to UCLA.

Softball players at Rylee’s favorite team – Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana – took her on a virtual tour of campus, including a stop at the scaled-down replica of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, where an Irish player lit a candle for Rylee, then shared a prayer from the chaplain.

Texas A&M’s softball team invited Rylee to fly out to College Station; she and her mother visited Sea World on the trip – something Lindsey said was on Rylee’s bucket list.

But Rylee’s father was growing alarmed.

He said she suffered from slow digestion and constipation.

‘If she needed my heart, I’d give it to her today,’ he said.

‘As far as her going to die: no.’

Lindsey and Rylee Abbuhl. The little girl is now in the custody of her father Jaime

Lindsey and Rylee Abbuhl. The little girl is now in the custody of her father Jaime

People within the community also began contacting the newspaper, The Canton Repository, and questioning Lindsey’s motives.

When asked, Lindsey declined on multiple occasions to release her daughter’s medical records for The Repository to review. She also was reluctant to allow physicians at Akron Children’s Hospital — where she said Rylee had been treated — to speak to the newspaper.

‘She has a whole team of doctors working on her,’ Lindsey said.

Lindsey said they medical team had performed multiple tests on her daughter, but were unable to determine the root of her illness.

She said her daughter regularly suffered nighttime seizures, could barely eat, was on pain medications and was nearly always exhausted.

‘That’s sad people have to cause drama,’ she’d said.

‘Rylee sits in during her doctor appointments; she knows what’s happening to her.

‘So calling me a liar is calling her a liar.’

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