Transcript for Dying Girl Hoax Lures Celeb Victims
You could -- a country song about the perils of online relationships. In fact Brad Paisley did. Games. -- His number one single online. In the music video the original George Costanza Jason Alexander plays a -- finders who passes himself off online as the ultra cool -- What are the lyrics and has -- Online from Mount Holly -- six. On the glass -- line you can excellent staff. The idea of the fantasy world that the Internet. The you've never experienced the dark side of that idea and the dark side has been there all along. Rather his wife actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley had no idea just how dark it could get. Until they were sucked into a cruel and elaborate hoax. A hoax that left him paralyzed with fear I felt so violated and scared and Brad demanding justice. It's sort of like emotional. Terrorism it all started -- emails sent by a total stranger. -- of thousands of emails but this one stood out from a mother with her daughter's dying wish. -- eight years old and had -- blessed alma. And had seen him in the of mine called the Christmas issues said that her daughter and had found great hope and inspiration from this movie. -- -- -- She said to her daughter had begged her to get in touch with me so it sounded very sort of re all I read -- won't. Let's just talked her and say hi talk they did it by phone email and text -- this wrestling and she put this little girl on the phone and said. This is Claire. -- drink your rage and hate didn't even bother letting me about. -- -- -- -- And I remember this this instinct in me thinking if this is a hoax. -- it was so quickly trumped by an overwhelming feeling what if it's not a hoax. And I have a chance to help. This little girl. The -- -- were in good company a lot of people thought it was real for the past year Nightline has been piecing together evidence from other celebrities who were roped him. I have the email that was written to the Paisley is at an eight year old daughter is suffering from end stage cancer -- -- -- Obama here is another one that was written to. A gospel singer named Carmen -- Thomas it is stage for a narrow glass dome basically the exact same thing editor written to Natalie grant singer. Violent producer -- liftoff is still finding victims we've confirmed at least a dozen people and there and beneath the dozens more they were working to confirm stealth suit who owns in your collection there that's John and for the -- then wipe out famous faces some of them the band little big town Kate Godwin. And Kate Gosselin actually dedicated an episode of her show yes on the screen and said in loving memory of hope. -- -- -- when we're the ones who told her that it was a hoax she learned from us at this point -- pays these were looked at this point it was plausible. It was totally plausible to me yeah they weren't saying can you send money. They weren't saying can you come visit there is famous woman -- from talked to you and then. It started to get weird. School parent firm. -- -- -- -- -- -- Supposedly at death's door a little girls sang this song Kim and Brad got on the phone and -- to hurt amazing grace -- -- does. Someone's -- it. In the middle of the Clinton even when -- that's not real and real and right when their hooked the hammer drops to get the call -- are now dreading little Claire is dead. The cocaine and it was very. -- sort of to the point and -- -- -- she's gone. It's you know a parent's worst nightmare. And my wife started bawling she hit my softest spot -- as a mother. You know wanting my kids to be okay. -- any parent should carry. Calls continued -- even more outlandish. I also want it now there are members and your -- and when Neitzel great. -- -- -- -- Check out this message detailing plans for the few real. Which all -- it takes you cheer from -- get election recruit. And hand them helped her and Aaron. Well your -- and. Almost immediately the stories started to unravel as the wicked nice and flowers for the funeral and she didn't have an address where she -- owed down just to send a donation to your local Children's Hospital on ice. I mean I had like a physical reaction every red flag. When -- and I remember just looking at people around me who is it how many people were involved in this scam. And an RD and they right here are they watching you right now -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- us this person was crazy. I watched my wife buckle when she realized this wasn't a real. Girl thing you know and I valve that turns them -- I'm going to find her and human nature. That this person is not able to do this or it isn't capable of doing worse. But this deception was bigger than the Paisley is even imagined as Nightline dug deeper it became clear the hoax -- wasn't just stalking celebrities she was -- cancer victims stealing their photos and stories. We went to meet one fan when the thomas' tip in Ohio. Their daughter Kristy died in 2006. Guess -- Europa last dome. She just had an infectious smile -- people just follow Obama with -- the -- -- Christie's image strayed off the Thomas family's memorial website. I have one -- -- Tommy. A while ago that it was almost like she -- my story. But it and I knew my story she had read my journalists and -- so many times it was like she had internalized it. And then when she would be calling this famous people it was almost like she convinced herself that she really was me. That's the sickest part about this to me that is the part -- when -- start to talk about that that's when I get really man. That there were real kids that there were real photos. Ironically the photos helped unravel the mystery to you pulled that -- Off some of these -- -- these journal entries. -- in summer intern doing because. She created pension and -- them from a blog buried in some of the digital images location data from the camera they were taken. When you're entered and in Google Maps it actually shows the location and Mongolia. A dead end at first but it's just simply that -- on the opposite side of the world. If you enter a negative sign there you get the actual address. To expects Wall Street. Douglas Wyoming. Hometown of that Jack hello mythical creature used to -- cities like. Fitting mascot for hucksters hideout. Hey there. Your hope Jackson we founder editor KOA campground in looking forward to -- him. Finally after eight months of searching for the woman responsible for toying with so many people's emotions we're face to face whether. Hope Jackson 37 year old mother of two perfectly healthy kids let's. Never come to relive the experience of losing. -- -- -- -- -- You don't think it was incredibly. Yes -- I think it's all. -- now looking back -- and a we spent a whole day -- she was contrite. I -- 100% responsible for this and I have to live with that every day of my life. Philosophical. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Calling can use of -- -- that -- have -- and I can't. Can't make them like me you forgive me. And broke down in tears again and again. Her -- shame who really -- you know and. Wrong. More we -- predator -- email she wrote Angela Thomas promising she would stop using Christie's picture. -- hope to learn how to be a better person out there. I don't. Expect forgiveness I just wanted to say necessary and talent not -- using your photos every -- anyone else's thank you for your time. News center. But it was after you -- that. The difference contacted him. Pray. -- say with a solid. -- not be using your photos ever again and I anyone else -- -- -- -- -- If you like her why should we believe you know. I'm not asking you to police because. Like -- said it's my actions are gonna -- -- than my words are. Chances for her it was never about gifts or money and never asked for anything from them ever does it matter to you that you goodness -- money. Yeah I think that sicker. I -- I would've welcomed. The thought that this was something as simple. As a woman. -- yes scanning that the bedding etc. then it's like OK all these monies involved. When she was all along really careful to not do that. Then you realize she's just enjoying this she hadn't technically committed a crime because she didn't ask for money. The damage that shows. -- approached US but it turned out hope Jackson made one little mistake. Finally caught up whether I don't think she's done it any point that law enforcement would track her down and this morning. That's Kevin Love well the -- man who tracked her down to a specific address in Douglas right where the GPS markers on those digital images said she would be. Hotel body. And this is -- you missed -- -- -- here to record here. Upstairs in room 205. He says when he confronted her she didn't deny it. He's his confession -- probably ever got. -- the Rangers -- this is an audiotape of one of her first interviews with police don't know why he. -- -- -- -- -- Even though it's fraud that can be extremely difficult to prosecute someone for misrepresenting themselves online and less money changes financed the law has not caught up to the technology and -- Jackson's case she made one crucial mistake she did take something of monetary value. Brad Paisley song amazing grace the performance itself has -- and does even if you're using them vote. Right because it was Brad Paisley singing amazing grace turns out it was worth -- 5000 dollars or more at that point committed a felony. -- Jackson pled guilty to theft of services. Deserve jail to us. This is Al Capone in Garland Texas it really really was -- now she's out on probation. And then horribly sorry. You know for all those people that -- -- hope Jackson told us for her money was never the object. -- -- -- -- Just that moment. Being. Specialty and that's all -- was. -- -- -- -- And you know. It's matters. It does seem like depression. Is a big part of her life we had a psychiatrist doctor Mark Feldman to watch her interview of Jackson's not his patient. But he said he has seen this type of behavior many times before. In fact he was the first to diagnose this as something he calls my chosen by Internet a mental illness what are the symptoms. Basically refers to anybody who goes online either means -- exaggerates. Some kind of medical or. Psychological illness. Because the rafter sympathy to -- hope Jackson describe it she couldn't help herself. I guess it's kind of been in drug addict you -- -- instances. Most people that -- -- -- Can't panic as people know it's wrong and makes them very bad about so definitely do it looks like that's OK and that. One question for doctor Feldman. Did the Internet -- that addiction my sense is the Internet has made this behavior explode because you can be anybody. Yes the the anonymity as seductive. And yet the intimacy is equally seductive he doesn't more than a hundred of these cases and thinks that's just the tip of the iceberg. We really -- -- 100%. The grizzlies are willing to give her the benefit of the doubt I hope that the people around her well and her attorney get help our root for her to. To be. Case study that never does it again. But they feel the law needs to be changed let's work on that as a society let's make it illegal to use someone's child's photo. For something that -- -- -- for. And -- have a -- Angela Thomas whose real daughter's picture was stolen. Says she's worried those lies could make people like the -- -- think twice about being compassionate. The next little girls just want to have -- he's leasing to them. I hope they haven't had their hearts Harden the -- -- insists that's not gonna happen but next time. Probably bear in mind Brad slightly jaded. This show. I'm David Wright for Nightline. Douglas Wyoming.
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