Cleveland, OH – Police have cautioned hospital personnel to be on the lookout for a woman who they believe may try to kidnap an infant, now that her claims of being an expectant mother with terminal breast cancer appear to be a scam.
Fliers sent to Cleveland maternity wards by the Cleveland Police Department (CPD) on Thursday cautioned that Dawn Marie Brown “is currently running an ongoing scam involving a fake pregnancy.”
“Brown is known to have scouted the Fairview Hospital Birthing Center, and is most likely familiar with the area and procedures used,” the flier continued. “Investigators are concerned that Brown could attempt to try and take a baby from the hospital.”
The allegations against Dawn have also cast suspicion on her husband, Cleveland Police Department (CPD) officer Kenneth Brown, who she married on Nov. 14, 2017, The Plain Dealer reported.
Officer Brown abruptly retired on Wednesday. He had been with the department since 1993, according to The Plain Dealer.
“The Cleveland Division of Police is currently investigating a complaint of a possible fraud being conducted by the wife of a Cleveland Police Officer,” the CPD told WKYC on Thursday. “The female is suspected of making fraudulent claims regarding her medical condition(s). She is also suspected to have solicited donations via social media with online campaigns. Investigators are still gathering evidence pertaining to the female’s medical records.”
An internal investigation is underway to determine whether or not Officer Brown had any knowledge that Dawn was lying when she held fundraisers based on her claims that she was pregnant and that she had late-stage cancer.
The CPD began investigating Dawn after a blood drive fundraiser was held at the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association (CPPA) hall on her behalf on Jan. 14, WKYC reported.
“Officer Ken Brown and his wife Dawn are expecting their beautiful baby girl Kassidy next month,” a flier for the drive read, according to WKYC. Several other events – drives, showers, and fundraisers – had also been held in 2017.
Dawn joined support groups on social media, and even created a profile at Fight Like A Girl, a women’s cancer website.
On her Nov. 6, 2017 profile, she claimed to have battled cancer since the age of 16, and said she was living in “constant, unrelenting pain every day” due to the disease having spread into her “lungs, stomach, brain and bones.”
Dawn wrote about her near-death moments throughout her “fight,” and said that her family had to “watch me lose my hair, my body changing in size due to the treatments and disease, not knowing…if I would wake up in the morning.”
Dawn told other cancer patients that she had no chance of survival, and that her last wish was to give birth to her daughter, who she said was due to be born on Dec. 15, 2017.
Online support group member Jennifer Pace, who actually is battling with stage IV cancer, told WEWS that she and other members began to notice inconsistencies in Dawn’s stories, especially regarding her ever-changing due date.
Dawn also told group members that she had been pregnant with triplets and twins in the past.
“Last year, cancer took the lives of my unborn twins, and I feel blessed that I will be going home and holding them in my arms,” she wrote on her Fight Like A Girl profile.
She claimed that her “story” made it all the way to the U.S. Congress, and that she spoke with legislators to help pass a bill that allocated $2.3 million to cancer research.
Dawn said she later spoke with President Trump and Vice President Pence on the phone, and that both of them asked her to send “Team Dawn” shirts to them and their families.
“Our team was getting recognition and congratulations all over D.C. from Senators that were moved and recognized our team from the speech,” Dawn wrote. “As of now, we’re going back to Washington DC at the end of the month as special guest of President Trump and his family.”
According to The Plain Dealer, a now-deleted GoFundMe account raised over $700 over the course of one week. The page claimed that Dawn was a mother and grandmother, and that she had been battling cancer since the age of four.
The page also noted that Dawn’s baby was due on Jan. 22, but her divorce records for a prior marriage from Nov. 14, 2017 (the same day she was re-married), indicated that she was not pregnant at that time, The Plain Dealer reported.
The couple even had an online baby gift registry, WEWS reported.
According to WKYC, Dawn has been married at least six other times. Many of her divorces involved allegations of monetary grabs, and at least one of her former spouses obtained a restraining order against her.
“I would say she’s a con artist, she’s a liar, she’s a scammer, and she needs to be behind bars,” Pace told WKYC. “It’s about as low as you can do to prey on vulnerable people, like stage IV cancer patients, and even the police force that’s trying to help them.”
No charges have been filed, but the investigation is ongoing, police said.