Parents of special needs child almost victim of scam - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Parents of special needs child almost victim of scam

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Jerrica Stone was turned into a princess for a day thanks to Cochran Elementary School. Jerrica Stone was turned into a princess for a day thanks to Cochran Elementary School.
Mike and Barbara McClaren Mike and Barbara McClaren
Jerrica Stone with her mother Jerrica Stone with her mother
Addilynn Roberts Addilynn Roberts

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The crimes are unthinkable, thieves reaching out to family's in need pretending they want to help but instead it's just a scam. One family is counting their blessings after almost walking into what they considered a trap.

After Jerrica Stone was turned into a princess for a day thanks to Cochran Elementary School, her inspirational story went national.   

[PREVIOUS STORY: Terminally ill kindergartner whisked away in horse drawn carriage]

Soon her parents, Mike and Barbara McClaren, were hearing from people from all over the country wanting to help.

"It was incredible the support and the emails we got," said McClaren. "People came and randomly left gifts at the school for Jerrica."

Jerrica won the hearts of many after her school was able to showcase just how much this little girl means to them.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Country music star to perform, raise money for young cancer patient caught up in scam]

Born with an unspecified mitochondrial disease and Moebius Syndrome Jerrica can't walk or talk, but her mind is strong and she uses sign language to communicate. Doctors didn't expect the kindergartner to live to 5 years old and in May she will turn 6.

Her family has had many struggles along the way dealing with the financial strain. Their handicapped van remains broken. When the McClarens got a call from a lady out in LA, so touched by Jerrica's story she wanted to help, it meant a lot.

"It sounded like a fabulous offer and she sounded very sincere," said McClaren.

A local band was even signed on, but right before the benefit was scheduled to take place. Things just weren't adding up.

"Ultimately we were able to just catch her in multiple lies to different people," said McClaren.

The McClarens were able to cancel the fundraiser and fortunately no money was exchanged.

"For somebody to seem like they are going to help you, especially when there's so much going on with a special needs child like Jerrica and then to have her turn around and turn out to be using it all for herself that's a special kind of evil," said McClaren.

Not everyone is as lucky to catch a crime before it happens. Not long after Ben and Angela Roberts of Elizabethtown found out their daughter Addilynn was diagnosed with Leukemia, a high school acquaintance offered to help raise money claiming to have connections to a country star. Instead police said he pocked $9,000 of the raised funds.

"Be skeptical, ask questions," said Mike McClaren.

On Sunday, March 23 the PBR Bar at 4th Street Live! is hosting a benefit concert for Jerrica. Local bands will play and there will be a silent auction. Tickets are $5.

The McClarens say they will use to money to fix their van and put it towards a surgery Jerrica is scheduled to have next month. For more information, click here. 

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