Anti-Abortion Blogger Admits Hoax
Blogger claims pregnancy with sick child -- but it wasn't real: "It was a doll."
June 13, 2009— -- In painstaking detail and heartbreaking prose, a young single mother shared with the world the compelling story of carrying to term a baby she knew was going to die.
The baby, a girl named April because of the month she was due, was to be born with a rare disorder called holoprosencephaly that would prevent her brain from properly developing, cause her face to be deformed and ultimately result in her early death.
In just a few short months, hundreds of thousands of readers driven to the site from other anti-abortion and religious sites praised the mother for her strength and her devout Christian faith.
At first "B" or "April's Mom," the monikers the anonymous blogger used, asked only for her readers' prayers. And they came in droves; not just from readers caught up in a riveting real life drama, or from Christians who celebrated her story as an anti-abortion parable, but from mothers of sick and dying children who wanted to commiserate and lend their support.
But soon, April's Mom asked for more than just prayers. She posted a P.O. Box, to which readers could send gifts or money and on the side of the page where there was once only a form for submitting well-prayers emerged a list of advertisements.
Though she described visits with her doctors, plans for her delivery and posted pictures of herself and eventually the baby -- who was born weeks late last Sunday and died hours later -- none of the story was true.
The hoax was uncovered by the same women who read and commented on the site, littleoneapril.blogspot.com. Once-loyal readers became increasingly suspicious by a lack of information, constantly changing due dates and a planned home delivery.
But it was the photo of baby April Rose, posted for a moment and then taken down, that would unravel the intricate weeks-long lie.
"It wasn't a photo of a baby at all," said Elizabeth Russell, a mother and maker of lifelike Reborn Dolls, "It was a doll. I have that same doll."
"I've made that doll enough times that there was no mistaking it. I couldn't believe what she was trying to pull. It's outrageous that she would manipulate people like that," said Russell, a 31-year-old mother of two from Buffalo, N.Y."