Kaycee and Geoffrey Lang’s baby registry had everything, right down to giraffe mittens and a dino onesie. She posted a tease on Facebook asking “Any guesses on baby Lang’s gender? We will be announcing in a few weeks.” A friend in their small Pennsylvania town threw a shower full of gifts and games. Grandpa James gave groceries. Great-Grandma Prudence contributed $265. Friends came with an Aldi gift card, diapers, and cash to celebrate the imminent arrival.
Two months later, Kaycee announced baby Easton Walt Lang had arrived at 3:11 am on July 3 at Conemaugh Memorial Hospital in Johnstown. A Facebook page had photos from the couple of a newborn wrapped in a blanket.
But that joy quickly turned to heartbreak: The couple announced little Easton died a few hours later from fluid in his lungs and a low heart rate. Friends again came to their aid, coming together to pay for a personalized urn and cremation at a local funeral home.
“Easton’s parents were blessed with just a little over 5 hours before he went to his heavenly home at 8:20 am. Easton experienced holding hands and hugs and kisses with his mommy and daddy and being told uncountable number of ‘I love yous,’” read the obituary that ran in Johnstown’s Tribune-Democrat on July 12.
Don’t cry just yet: Pennsylvania prosecutors say Easton Walt Lang did not exist.
The real-life people who say they gave birth to him, Kaycee, 23, and Geoffrey, 27, are now facing charges in two counties, as prosecutors said Thursday that an investigation showed they not only feigned giving birth to “Easton” to scam friends, family, and their community, but also faked the phony newborn’s death to keep the gifts and money pouring in. That included a GoFundMe page created by a friend of the family’s who was one of the 15 people who donated a combined $550 to the page after the news of his “death.”
A reporter with Pittsburgh’s WTAE ABC affiliate captured images of Facebook posts from the couple, from an account that appears to have been shut down.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the Pennsylvania State Police, people began to suspect something was amiss shortly after the faux funeral.
On July 19, friend Cynthia Dilascio reported to police in Johnstown that she suspected Kaycee and Geoffrey had lied about Easton’s existence, the affidavit states. She told authorities that she hadn’t seen Kaycee since the baby shower. The police checked both the Cambria County Coroner’s Office and the Somerset County Coroner’s Office for records of the newborn. Neither had ever heard of an Easton Lang. Investigators checked Conemaugh Memorial Hospital and Conemaugh Memorial OB/GYN, but said there was no record of the child or his purported mother.
Both Geoffrey and Kaycee were interviewed by the police on Aug 5. The father said he was not present at the baby’s birth, but that the newborn’s heart rate had dropped below 55 bpm and there was fluid on his lungs. Kaycee told the investigators that the baby had respiratory distress syndrome, the documents state.
The next day, police issued a search warrant for the Langs’ home. When officers looked through the house, they found a “life-like newborn baby doll” that was shown in the pictures on social media, and an urn with “Easton Walt Lang” etched into it.
The funeral home where the couple said they bought the container for their child’s remains also had no records of the newborn’s existence, police documents show.
A GoFundMe spokesperson confirmed the account for the couple has been shut down. “This campaign received 15 donations totaling $550,” a statement from the crowdfunding site reads. “This type of behavior is not tolerated on GoFundMe. We will fully cooperate with law enforcement officials during their investigation and we will issue full refunds to all donors.”
The couple is facing misdemeanor theft charges. They are scheduled to appear in court in October.