News and Tribune

Police & Fire News

June 20, 2014

Police: Woman arrested after faking inoperable brain tumor

A fundraiser was held in Charlestown in May for the Corydon woman

CORYDON — A Corydon woman was arrested Friday on felony theft charges after it was determined her claim of suffering from an inoperable brain tumor was fabricated and she had taken donations from the public for assistance.

Teryn Applegate, 27, received charitable donations from members of the Southern Indiana community under the false pretenses that she had been diagnosed with the tumor, said Nick Smith, a detective with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department.

“Fundraising efforts that Ms. Applegate was involved in allege that doctors had only given Ms. Applegate six months to live and that she needed help with her medical and burial expenses,” Smith said. “A police investigation uncovered medical records confirming that Ms. Applegate had never been diagnosed with any type of brain tumor.”

Smith said that Applegate was cooperative with HCSD officers during their investigation, and that it appears that she also lied about the medical condition to her three children, fiancé and the family and friends who helped organize fundraising efforts.

“We don’t want to speculate that anyone knew [of the false claim] and was involved, but it appears it was her story and she made it up, and the other people involved may have been family members and victims that believed that same story and simply thought that they could help,” he said.

Smith said that Applegate came to the sheriff’s department to talk with investigators before she was arrested about 4:30 p.m.

“We did some subpoenas for medical records and we kind of knew the answer and we brought her in and talked to her,” he said. “She cooperated with the investigation and told us about her false claims and the fact that she had received this money under a false pretense from community members of our county and Clark County.”

One of Applegate’s fundraisers took place at the VFW in Charlestown, and she took money from a Harrison County church. She was featured in a News and Tribune article previewing the May Charlestown event.

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