Published Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 | 2:18 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 | 10:30 p.m.
A Mesquite woman remains jailed on allegations she solicited donations for her 7-year-old son by falsely claiming the boy was stricken with cancer.
Shawnanna Starr Flores, 36, is in the Clark County Detention Center charged with theft, fraud, obtaining money under false pretenses and child abuse.
According to a Mesquite Police Department report, Flores has been telling people in the community that her son had hepatoblastoma, a form of liver cancer that strikes infants and young children. Mesquite Police said their investigation had uncovered $550 already given by donors for the boy, including money raised at an Aug. 24 car wash fundraiser at a Rebel station in Mesquite. The boy appeared and helped supervise car washes for a time during the fundraiser.
The mother is listed as an “organizer” on a webpage, youcaring.com, that included a fundraising goal of $2,000 for the 7-year-old beneficiary. The woman also frequently posts on her Facebook page about her son and his diagnosis.
The woman requested her son be included in Mesquite’s Carnival for Cures fundraiser but did not provide any documentation of the boy’s diagnosis.
Tuesday, the carnival’s organizers sent a letter to the woman, notifying her the boy would not be among the recipients because of the lack of medical documentation.
The next day, the woman met with police to complain that an upcoming cancer fundraiser was using a photo of her 7-year-old without her permission. The group, she said, was “harassing” her and insisting that she provide her son’s medical documents.
Later Wednesday afternoon, the woman took the boy to a St. George hospital emergency room, saying the boy had been vomiting and suffering from severe abdominal pain since May. The ER physician determined the boy’s laboratory reports were all normal. A CT scan of the boy showed a small lesion.
Friday, after obtaining a warrant for the boy’s medical records that showed the boy had no diagnosis for cancer, detectives and a child welfare official contacted the mother. She agreed to an interview, in which she was unable to confirm any liver cancer diagnosis for her son.
Tess Driver, a spokeswoman for the Clark County District Attorney’s Office, said no charges have been filed while prosecutors continue to review the case.