A Wyoming woman scammed celebrities into communicating with her by using a false story that her young daughter was dying of cancer.
Hope Jackson of Wyoming contacted an unknown number of celebrities, including country star Brad Paisley, reality star Kate Gosselin and Christian recording artist Natalie Grant, with a story that usually portrayed her young daughter, dying of cancer, being a fan of theirs. She sent photos of a sick child to back up her claims. Once the celebrity was convinced, Jackson would ask the victim to talk on the phone with the girl or sing a song.
ABC News reporter Alyssa Litoff investigated and identified Jackson as the hoax's mastermind. The Wyoming woman was already in jail for theft of services, having convinced Paisley to sing "Amazing Grace" to her over the phone under false pretenses.
Litoff also discovered that the photos Jackson used were of actual sick children, some of whom had succumbed to their illness. A photo of John and Sarah Skees's daughter Ellie, who died from neuroblastoma, was used in Jackson's hoax on Natalie Grant. [See the hoax email Grant received.]
Grant's hit song "Held," about a mother who loses a child, helped the parents get through the grieving process. In light of this bizarre connection, ABC News flew the Skees family to Dallas to meet the Grammy-winning singer and receive a private performance of "Held."
In the end, Hope Jackson pled guilty and got five years probation. She is now in counseling and on several medications for depression and anxiety.