Sign up below to be added to our mailing list for the latest news updates, access to exclusive contents, and more!
The mother of a premature infant asked her friend to setup an online fundraising account to help pay for medical bills.
Instead, that woman apparently took the more than $1,000 that was raised.
A GoFundMe account was set up earlier this week by Casey Faker to help her friends, Pache Hein and Anthony James, the parents of baby Aria. The young couple was involved in a traffic accident in Puyallup, Wash. a week ago, causing the pre-mature birth of their infant. Aria wasn’t due to be born until July.
Taylor Womack is a friend of the family who learned about a problem with the fundraising effort.
“At first, it brought tears to my eyes, because I couldn’t believe how small this little baby was,” Womack said on Friday.
Hein said that shortly after her daughter’s premature birth, she asked Faker to set up the account, not knowing that while her baby daughter was fighting for her life, Faker was allegedly draining the GoFundMe account for her own use - to the tune of more than $1,222.
She said the account was set up to raise money to cover Aria’s medical bills, because the baby “would be in the hospital until July.”
However, Aria died at Tacoma General Hospital on Wednesday. When Hein and James tried to access the GoFundMe account to cover funeral expenses, the money was gone.
In text messages, Faker, an admitted drug user, apologized for taking the money, writing, “I am using again. But I do plan on getting clean this week and paying them (Hein & James) back ASAP.”
Hein and Womack both believe Faker used the money to pay for drugs.
“It was hard enough when Aria was born weighing only 1.34 pounds,” Womack said. "But now to add this?”
Faker now lives in Oregon. She didn’t return a call asking for comment.
Faker is a 23-year Pierce County native with a criminal history. She was arrested in November 2010 for allegedly assaulting a paramedic who was treating her for a drug overdose. Because of the missing GoFundMe money, Faker may now face new criminal charges, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.
“In this case, you’re going to have multiple victims that gave the money, because the money didn’t go where it was supposed to,” said Det. Ed Troyer.
However, in order for criminal charges to be filed, the victims would have to contact police first.
A new GoFundMe account to cover Aria’s funeral expenses has been established here by her parents.