April's Mom Blogger Admits Anti-Abortion Baby Blog Was Elaborate Hoax
MOKENA, Ill. (AP) -- The story was compelling: An unmarried Illinois mother chose to carry her terminally ill child to term rather than have an abortion because of her deep Christian faith.
It was all a hoax.
For two months, the suburban Chicago woman wrote about her pregnancy, her fears and her hopes on a blog that drew nearly a million hits to her Web site. Followers promised to pray for her and her baby, April Rose. They sent letters and gifts to a post office box she listed online.
But when "April's Mom" wrote on Sunday that her baby had died hours after being delivered at home - and posted photos - supporters soon realized they'd been duped.
One of the followers recognized the "baby" swaddled in white blankets as a lifelike doll that she had in her own home.
"As soon as I saw that picture, I knew it was a scam," said Elizabeth Russell, a doll maker from Buffalo.
There never was a pregnancy, only a 26-year-old social worker named Beccah Beushausen from suburban Mokena who said she always liked to write. Angry followers on dozens of Christian parenting Web sites helped expose Beushausen's identity.
Beushausen's Web site had been removed by Friday, and an address listed for a Rebeccah Beushausen in Mokena didn't include a phone number.