Leukemia boy hoax captures Eagle County residents; police investigation under way

Boy never existed; newspaper editor apologizes

EAGLE, Colo. - A false story of an Eagle County boy stricken with cancer that made front page news in Eagle and Vail and duped an entire community is the focus of an investigation by the Eagle Police Department, the Eagle Valley Enterprise reported.

The elaborate hoax ended last week when an Eagle County woman posted an obituary for the fictitious 10-year-old boy in the local newspaper.

The tale of Alex Jordon began a few weeks ago when a co-worker of an Eagle Valley High School football mom shared the story of a local boy who was terminally ill with leukemia and who was a football fan. The mother shared the story with her son who told his teammates at the high school, according to the newspaper.

After hearing about the story from EVHS parents, Pam Boyd, editor of the Eagle Valley Enterprise, met with the woman on Oct. 23 to interview her. The conversation resulted in an Oct. 25 front page story about Alex which appeared in the Vail Daily the same day. During the interview, The woman asked that Alex's last name be omitted at the request of his parents. She also requested her own last name be omitted.

The story spread on local radio stations and songs were dedicated to the non-existent boy, according to the newspaper.

When asked if she was collecting contributions for the family, the 22-year-old woman who started the rumor said the family did not need money, but they did want people to know Alex's story.

During the Oct. 26 game between EVHS and Palisade, the woman said it was Alex's final wish to attend that game, but the day before the game she announced on a special Facebook page that Alex had died.

Part of the obituary read, "Our beautiful angel, Alexander Jordan, lost his two-year battle with leukemia Oct. 25. Alex was born in Denver to Peter and Karen on Nov. 2, 2002. He is survived by his brother Nick." The obituary has since been removed from the newspaper website.

As of Saturday morning her Alexander Jordon page had nearly 1,000 likes, but on Sunday, it could not be found.

Employees at radio station KSKE decided to check out the story, but the Eagle County Coroner's Office had no record of anyone with that name and age dying. That is when they contacted police, the newspaper reported.

Police have talked to the woman and are continuing their investigation to see if she broke any laws. The editor of the Eagle Valley Enterprise offered an apology in a weekend story detailing the hoax.

The photo of “Alex” used on the Facebook page has been traced back to a Kids Cancer Crusade website and is identified as Connor Gerber, a South African boy who is still alive.

TheDenverChannel.com is withholding the name of the woman involved because she has not been charged with a crime.

Read more at the Eagle Valley Enterprise.

 

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