Couple collects gifts in sextuplet scam
Grain Valley residents lied about births to take advantage of the generosity of their neighbors.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
KANSAS CITY — A couple who reported delivering a set of sextuplets — when really they gave birth only to an elaborate lie — was unapologetic for a scheme aimed at tapping neighbors’ generosity, authorities said Wednesday.
Sarah and Kris Everson of Grain Valley could face criminal charges for collecting cash and other gifts after going public with their amazing story of six newborn babies clinging to life. Police were still investigating a day after the Eversons admitted the hoax and said they were unsure how much help they received.
Grain Valley Police Chief Aaron Ambrose said detectives would seek records on donations made through a bank fund set up for the Eversons, a post office box established to receive mailed gifts and an online PayPal account that allowed visitors to the couple’s Web site to give money.
"We want to make sure it’s a thorough investigation and all of our areas are covered," Ambrose said.
The site set up for the so-called Everson Six sought gifts of cash and gift certificates as well as a van, and washer and dryer. A real estate agent was even working to find the family a new, bigger home.
The couple had help from local residents, including a Chamber of Commerce president, but Gary Bradley, city administrator in Grain Valley, said no one aside from the Eversons was suspected of wrongdoing.
As the couple told it, 45-year-old Sarah Everson’s pregnancy was a surprise discovered during a routine doctor’s appointment. As time passed, she said doctors kept finding more babies.
The births were said to have happened March 8, but the Eversons said they kept it hushed because of a family dispute in which their lives, and those of their babies, were threatened. They claimed a court order kept the story from being leaked.
Until Monday, that is. Those who the Eversons had turned to for help apparently suggested going to the media with their story to help raise funds. It was plastered on the front of the Examiner in Independence with a photograph of the couple holding six one-piece baby outfits and announcing the births.
Sarah Everson allowed an Associated Press reporter into her home before the scandal broke, showing off the tiny nursery ready for her four boys and two girls, awaiting their discharge from intensive care. She told of the surgeries two of the babies would undergo, detailed her discomfort during her pregnancy and even showed photographs of her baring a huge, pregnant-looking midsection.
"I want to be with them all the time," she said, breaking into tears. "I don’t like being away from them."
Hours later, authorities said the woman and her 33-year-old husband were questioned by police and came clean. Ambrose said they expressed no remorse.