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August 3, 2004

Cancer scam suspect hospitalized

From: Indianapolis Star, IN - Aug 3, 2004

MUNCIE, Ind. -- A woman charged with trying to raise money by claiming she had cancer has been admitted to a mental hospital after attempting the hoax again, her attorney said.

Brookelyn Walters, 25, of Culver, is suffering from a mental illness and "can't control herself," defense attorney Jay Hirschauer said Monday after a hearing in Delaware Circuit Court.

Walters had been scheduled to face trial this month on charges of theft and forgery for what authorities said was a cancer scam she carried out while a Ball State University student.

Hirschauer said that in the most recent accounts of Walters faking an illness, she did not try to solicit money from anyone and told her therapist what she had done.

"No one paid her money, and she didn't forge any documents," he said. "This is a problem she's had since she was 12 years old. It's a recurring one, which she doesn't have any control over."

While a student at Ball State, police said she started a Web site dedicated to her supposed fight against the illness, shaved her head and forged letters from doctors.

She also was granted an interpreter from Ball State after she claimed to be deaf, and a fraternity and sorority held a hog roast for her that raised $1,000 for a bone marrow transplant she said she needed.

A Nov. 15 trial date has been set on those allegations. Hirschauer has filed a notice with the court that if the case goes to trial, Walters will plead not guilty because of mental illness.

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