ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Investigators and the mother of a happy, healthy 7-year-old Denver-area boy are trying to figure out why the boy’s father would post a fake obituary saying the 1st grader had died.
The obit, posted in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent last month, states that the boy is survived by his father Jason McCoy and his mother Bethany Tharp. But Tharp is just McCoy’s girlfriend, not the boy’s mother, and the boy isn’t dead.
Jennifer Stretch, the boy’s real mother who lives with her son in Arapahoe County, said the boy spent two weeks with his father at his home just west of Glenwood Springs this summer. She said the obit might just be about getting “attention.”
“I don’t know. I feel like his girlfriend is part of it,” she said.
Stretch requested that CBS not show the boy’s face or include his name, but she said her son doesn’t have any medical problems and isn’t sick. The obit stated that the boy passed away at Children’s Hospital.
“It’s ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. And, you know, I feel like he’s gone off the deep end,” she said, referring to the boy’s father.
Tharp’s Facebook page recently featured postings about the boy’s health in which she wrote about tumors, being moved from a sterile bubble to an ICU room and then being cremated. Those posts have been removed, but photos of the boy remain on the page.
One friend wrote in response to one of the Facebook posts: Sorry to hear about your loss.
Stretch said McCoy contacted her about the situation and “He actually asked me to let it lie, whatever that means, to just leave it alone.”
Police in New Castle, where McCoy lives, said they have an open investigation into the situation.
Officials with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office also said the case got their attention.
“We sent our school resource officer over to the school to meet with those officials and verify that the student is in fact in attendance at the school and safe,” Public Safety Bureau Chief Vince Line said.
Stretch told CBS4 her son does not know about the situation, but she is sad to know that someday he will likely find out about it.
McCoy didn’t return CBS4’s phone calls about the situation on Wednesday. At this point there are no charges pending.
Last year the Greeley Tribune’s editors were forced to review their policies and procedures for accepting obituaries after they published an obit saying a 28-year-old man had died when he was actually still alive. The man’s sister had brought a handwritten obit in to their offices and apparently was looking for an excuse to get out of work. (Full Story)