Emily Creno, an Ohio mother who subjected her four-year-old son to numerous medical tests in an alleged cancer hoax, was arrested on Tuesday.
She was charged with a third-degree felony for child endangerment following an ongoing scheme in which she claimed he was dying of cancer.
In December of last year, she allegedly began an elaborate hoax in which her young child was initially taken to a hospital for seizure-like symptoms.
Over multiple visits, he underwent at least 20 blood tests and more than 150 hours of inpatient monitoring, along with other tests, reports indicate.
Creno also shaved her son's head regularly.
“Each time [the child] was brought into the hospital, staff was unable to find any signs or symptoms of medical distress,” a statement of facts said.
That fact appears to have been kept from friends, family and others looking to help. Several Facebook groups organizing donations sprung up in response.
One of them, "Champions for the Creno Family," had almost 150 members at time of writing. At least 20 people claimed to have donated money or goods.
All the while, the boy was subjected to tests for a disease that he never had, and - according to his father - given medication that he did not need.
In May, the Ohio boy's father, John Creno, told the Columbus Dispatch that taking the needless seizure medications had left his son unable to walk.
“He could hardly walk," John Creno said. "He could not talk at all."
"You could not understand a word he said. He would literally sit on the couch, tell you he had to go potty and, before you could help him, he already wet himself.”
John Creno said he had no idea his wife was lying to him. The couple have since divorced, which is not hard to believe after going through this.
Police were first tipped to the possible fraud by a woman who had a daughter with leukemia and thought online updates about Creno's son made no sense.
Damian Smith, the detective assigned to the case, said the Columbus physician whom Creno said was J.J.'s oncologist had no knowledge of the child.
In a Facebook support group, Creno claimed to have worked as a nurse at Nationwide Children's Hospital, where her son received numerous tests.
However, an investigation by WBNS revealed that Creno not only never worked at the hospital, she has never even been a licensed nurse in Ohio.
The child's father said above all, he was concerned about his son.
“He was told that he was going to see Donna,” John Creno said.
“Donna was my mom, who passed away from cancer. So telling a 4-year-old, ‘You’re going to go see Donna’ ... he thought he was going to die."