Leatha Kaye Slauson is a mother in Iowa who was arrested and has been charged for allegedly lying to the regional community about her five-year-old daughter, saying she was terminally ill with colorectal cancer in order to collect donations. Local residents gave the family money and paid for a trip to Disney World and helped fulfill a “bucket list.”

Leatha Kaye Slauson

Photo: Leatha Kaye Slauson




The 30-year-old Leatha Kaye Slauson (mugshot photo above) was arrested in Atlantic, Iowa after authorities concluded that her five-year-old daughter, Riley, did not have cancer.

According to a report in KETV 7 in Iowa, Leatha Kaye Slauson began spreading the lie in September 2013. As part of perpetrating the fraud, she shaved her daughter’s hair so as to make it appear that she suffered the ravages of chemotherapy. She was also administering cannibis oil to her daughter. Additionally, photos of the child with the shaved head had been placed on the GoFundMe page which was part of the fundraising efforts.

She even went to far as to make an appearance on KETV in the spring to talk about her daughter’s cancer, and as the report notes, KETV had done a total of two stories on Slauson and her daughter and the fundraising efforts dubbed the Super Riley Fund. In an earlier interview with the station she spoke in detail about her daughter’s supposed cancer, saying, in part ” ‘It spread to her liver and the last MRI (showed) it spread to her lymph nodes and they stopped chemotherapy.”

The Atlantic Police Department, Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Cass County Attorney and Iowa Department of Human Services are all investigating the case, and as the station notes, the police released a statement noting in part that members of the local community and beyond had “rallied to help the family financially, and to make what was believed to be the child’s remaining time as enjoyable as possible.”

While noting that fundraising had taken place they did not specify a dollar amount — unconfirmed reports in the media place it at around $1,000. The statement did acknowledge that “Individuals and organizations have organized fundraisers and a trip to Disney World in order to assist the family through what was believed to be a difficult time.”

Slauson has been arrested and was booked into Cass County Jail where she remains. She has been charged with one count of felony child endangerment. She has also been charged with one count of distribution of drugs to a child under 18. The latter charge is for giving her daughter the cannibis oil.

Her daughter and her four other children are are now in the custody of their father who, according to the Cass County Attorney Dan Gesitner, is ‘struggling with how to proceed in his life’.

While the ruse was ongoing, the The Atlantic Fire Department made Riley an honorary member of the fire department as a part of fulfilling wishes on her bucket list. The department released a statement in support of her which read in part, “Under the current circumstances she needs our support more than ever and will remain an honorary member and we wish her nothing but the best in her future.”

Check back for updates on this developing story.