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Old 12-12-2010, 10:52 AM   #1
19wingz
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Default Mom Faked Son's Cancer for Money

Such a sad and horrible story. Who let her have children?

Quote:
Even now, Lorraine Kelsch looks back in disbelief at how she was deceived. How could her niece have done that? How could she fool everyone into believing her son had leukemia?

Yet it seemed so real.

The 12-year-old's mother, Carol Schnuphase, spoke at length about chemotherapy drugs and Christopher's blood transfusions. She carried notes that appeared to be from doctors. She talked about staying at a Ronald McDonald house while he was in treatment. And, authorities have said, she shaved the boy's head and gave him opiates to make him seem ill when he appeared in public.

"He would be absolutely snow-white, walking like an old man, running to the bathroom to throw up," Kelsch said.

"No one in their right mind would doubt her," Kelsch said -- even though relatives knew Schnuphase had a history of deceit, once making up a story that her mother had died.

After thousands of dollars had been raised on Christopher's behalf, a relative called police expressing concern that Schnuphase had concocted an elaborate ruse.

"The story wasn't adding up," said Roseville police Detective Brad McKenzie, and the department launched its investigation in June.

By September, Schnuphase was in jail, charged with fraud and child abuse. Due in court this week, she hasn't had any visitors except her lawyer.

Her relatives, who haven't been allowed to visit the boy in foster care, have refused her collect calls.

Family stunned mom could fake boy's cancer
Long before she was accused of bilking her church out of thousands of dollars by convincing its members that her son had cancer, Carol Schnuphase, 47, was a little girl who stole money from her mother's purse to buy candy for other children.

As an adult, she showered her son Christopher, now 12, with Christmas presents. After her mother, Gail Schuholz, died in 2006, Schnuphase lavished her aunt Lorraine Kelsch with similar attention, helping with errands and taking her out to eat.

"She was as generous as could be," Kelsch said. "She's generous when she's got money."

Yet her generosity has always been coupled with mystery and deviance. Over the past several weeks, Kelsch, her son Patrick and other family members shared stories about Schnuphase, including how Schnuphase didn't invite anyone from her family to her first wedding in the 1980s, and pretended more than a decade ago that her mother was dead and tried to raise money for the funeral.

Schnuphase, last living in Warren, will appear in court Wednesday to determine whether she's fit to stand trial on charges of child abuse and fraud, accused of drugging her son and shaving his head to make it appear he had leukemia to convince people to open their hearts -- and their wallets.

"We don't know what's going on in her head," Kelsch said. "She's lost everything. Not only did she take everyone away from her, but she took them away from Christopher."

Schnuphase is charged with two counts of accepting more than $1,000 under false pretenses, one count for a church fund-raiser and a second for a fund-raising party. The money apparently went to pay basic bills.

She also is charged with second-degree child abuse, which Roseville police Detective Brad McKenzie said was as much mental as physical.

"She told her child that he had leukemia, that he was dying," McKenzie said.

At some point, Schnuphase turned to Facebook to spread news of Christopher, once writing that her child had come to grips with dying. She told Kelsch about hospice plans. When she called her aunt sobbing about his death when he had actually been whisked into foster care, Schnuphase said there would be no funeral.

A community in disbelief
Her community sits stunned, asking how a mother could reportedly turn her son into a charity that raked in more than $8,500 through fund-raisers and gifts meant to ease the burden of his medical care. McKenzie said an April 10 fund-raiser at the St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Eastpointe raised about $3,500 matched by a local branch of a financial planning company.

Several people gave Schnuphase small amounts of money. The Young Marines, a youth group in which Christopher was enrolled, had a party where one benefactor gave the boy gifts and cash worth more than $1,000.

In late September, after a three-month investigation, Roseville police gave Schnuphase a chance to turn herself in. Instead, on several tips that she might run, she was arrested outside a Child Protective Services office where she had just finished a supervised visit with her son.

"She was upset with us. She was adamant she was not going to flee," McKenzie said.

Police said they found hair dye and clothes in her car.

Christopher, who Kelsch said started the 2009-10 school year at Lucille Patton Elementary School in Roseville, is in nonfamilial foster care and is reportedly back in school and healthy.

Neither Schnuphase nor anyone in her family is allowed contact with him. He may be the Macomb County prosecutor's key witness against his mother.

Throughout Christopher's life, Schnuphase seemed to go above and beyond to provide for him materially. Christmas presents flowed from under the tree. Birthday presents surrounded him. She kept him out of school for various reasons, Kelsch said, but when he went, she drove him the few blocks, rather than let him take the bus.

He's behind in school, but not because he isn't smart, said Kelsch, who said Christopher is a whiz with Legos.

Rita Casey, associate professor of psychology at Wayne State University said the 12-year-old needs to be reintegrated into school, friendships and a social life he apparently lost in the guise of being so sick.

"Children are quite resilient. I think there is great hope for this boy to turn out OK," Casey said.

Schnuphase always seemed to have enough money, said Kelsch, even when she wasn't working. It's unclear when or for how long, but Schnuphase apparently ran a caregiver company for sick and disabled people called Compassionate Caregivers. She ran it out of the St. Clair Shores home she inherited after her second husband, Christopher Schnuphase, died of heart disease in November 2000, when their son was 2 years old.

There is no evidence of a business license, and caregivers are not licensed by the state.

Her third husband, Daryl Carmack, died of an overdose in February 2009 of two prescription drugs, one of which was an opiate. His family believes the death was suspicious, but McKenzie said the body was cremated and any further investigation would be difficult.

Court records provide little information about a man who may have been Schnuphase's first husband. Kelsch said they met the man briefly, but the marriage dissolved quickly.

Kelsch said she loaned her niece money twice. Other relatives may have loaned her money, as well, but they wouldn't provide details.

Widowed for a year, Schnuphase apparently set out sometime last winter to make money off her child.

The gig is up
In July, Kelsch sat on her sofa with Schnuphase's brother Steve, when a news report told of the scheme. Relatives had been told a month before that Christopher had died.

After a string of phone calls, her family was in shock. Schnuphase had hung up on her uncle and called Kelsch, complaining that the news report was the work of her angry in-laws. Kelsch was livid.

"Why did I not notice bruises from chemo?" said Kelsch, referring to signs that Christopher might have been getting cancer treatment. His arms apparently showed no signs of needles being used for infusions. "Well, I didn't have a reason to think something was wrong."

During Schuphase's court appearances, Kelsch and other relatives have sat on court benches, listening to lawyers talk and wondering how they could have been duped. Members of Carmack's family also have been at every hearing.

"I want to see Carol punished," said Patrick Kelsch, Lorraine Kelsch's son and Schnuphase's cousin. "I want to see Chris grow up with a normal adolescence."

Dominic Greco, Schnuphase's attorney, said he hasn't seen toxicology reports referred to by Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith.

It's believed Christopher had two tests, one done soon after he left his mother that was positive for opiates. Another, done later, was negative.

Greco said Schnuphase will plead not guilty and misses her son. He said constant attention from the news media means she won't get a fair trial, if it happens.

"She's pretty upset, down in the dumps," he said. "She wants to see him, wants to talk to him, just like any other mother."
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/a...te=fullarticle
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:03 AM   #2
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"She wants to see him, wants to talk to him, just like any other mother...."

Any other mother wouldn't have done this to her child and as far as I'm concerned, once she did what she did she wasn't his mother anymore.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:25 PM   #3
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She is a narcissistic ego maniac. She'll get probation, ordered to pay back the money and probably ordered into some kind of mental health program. Meanwhile a child has now lost his mother and been put through hell because of her selfishness. If only we knew which people to spade and neuter at birth..
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:08 PM   #4
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You're not kidding. That's probably exactly how it's going to go and this poor kid is going to have to go through life wondering why his mom said he's going to die and why he cannot contact his family. So sad.
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:26 PM   #5
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leave me alone with this bitch for 1 hour! just 1 hour, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

she doesnt deserve to breathe the same air as that child, much less see him!!!

one way ticket to hell!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:27 PM   #6
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This kinda takes Matt's lie about his wife (on Big Brother) to a whole other level...
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:37 PM   #7
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this pisses me off so bad! the more i think about it the madder i get!!!!

look at this bitch.... makes me sick!
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SherriB View Post
She is a narcissistic ego maniac. She'll get probation, ordered to pay back the money and probably ordered into some kind of mental health program. Meanwhile a child has now lost his mother and been put through hell because of her selfishness. If only we knew which people to spade and neuter at birth..
Isn't this like Munchausens' (sp?). ITA with you.
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaysarRocks View Post
Isn't this like Munchausens' (sp?). ITA with you.
I guess it could be close. I think with Munchhausen's Disease, the parent(more often than not, the mother) actually does things to make the child physically ill, so she can feed her need for attention.
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Old 12-12-2010, 05:04 PM   #10
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Ya, Sherri's right. The parent benefits from the "sick role" attention. Here, she only did it for money. It seems purely financial gain - wouldn't qualify, I don't think, as an official Munchausen's diagnosis.
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