Police say Poteau woman made false claims about child’s cancer, solicited donations

POTEAU, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A 46-year-old Poteau woman is accused of using social media to solicit fraudulent donations under the guise of funding a 6-year-old boy’s cancer treatments.

According to a release from the Poteau Police Department, Ariana Noelle Gregg was arrested on June 1 on an outstanding child abuse warrant, with additional charges pending.

Police say that on May 28, 2021, they were contacted by Gregg’s wife, who notified authorities that Gregg had left with a 6-year-old boy under her guardianship three days prior to allegedly go to Saint Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis for the boy’s cancer treatment.

The woman told police that she had learned that Gregg and the boy were instead in Saginaw, Michigan, with an “online acquaintance” of Gregg’s. She also stated Gregg had made false claims about the boy’s cancer.

Poteau Police Department Investigators, along with Leflore County DHS Child Welfare, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the FBI located Gregg and the child in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The boy was taken into protective custody by Indiana child welfare authorities, while Gregg was released at that time due to the fact that a warrant had not yet been issued, police said.

Investigators say they later learned Gregg had used various online and social media platforms to “solicit donations under the guise of funding the boy’s treatment expenses.”

The Poteau Police Department urges to the public to cease donations to any associated accounts “due to the fraudulent nature of the claims.”

Anyone who has previously donated to one of these accounts is encouraged to contact Detective Sergeant Dustin McKinney at (918) 647-8620 or at mckinney@poteau-ok.com.

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