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Woman Who Duped Lance Armstrong with Fake Cancer Case Commits Suicide

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↵It may not be particularly surprising that an Idaho woman in her mid-20s ↵who suckered Lance Armstrong and many others into a cancer hoax was ↵mentally unbalanced enough to commit suicide, but it ↵is sad: ↵

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↵⇥Late last week, Melissa Ann Rice from Ammon, told a campaigner for ↵⇥Livestrong, the Lance Armstrong Foundation that Jonathan Jay White ↵⇥did not exist. On Wednesday, the Bonneville County Prosecutor was ↵⇥ready to charge Melissa Rice with grand theft by fraud but she was ↵⇥found dead in her car in the hills five miles east of Idaho Falls, ↵⇥from an apparent suicide. ↵
↵(The news article in question comes from an Idaho TV station and badly ↵needs an editor; [sic] implied above.) ↵

↵"Jonathan Jay White" was a 15-year-old kid with brain cancer with a blog ↵(now removed but referenced here ↵along with a couple of creepy pictures), a Twitter feed, a bunch of ↵signed Lance Armstrong gear, and no corporeal existence. This is the kind of thing that White posted: ↵

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↵⇥With this courage my outlook on the fight began to change, instead ↵⇥of dwelling on the pain and being the victim I became the warrior. I ↵⇥allowed my entire being to be filled with HOPE and started to focus ↵⇥on my future and on beating my cancer. I have written down my dreams ↵⇥and everything I plan on doing. I learn as much as I can and share ↵⇥it with anyone willing to listen. I laugh often, cry when it's ↵⇥needed and do my best to turn every bad day into a good one. ↵⇥Surviving cancer is not easy, or fun but it is what I and many ↵⇥others do. We are warriors, armed with Hope and we fight. ↵
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↵Which I guess is pretty convincing as a random 15-year-old, if a little ↵too attentive to capitalization and spelling rules. ↵

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↵Armstrong "enjoyed chatting with" White -- presumably about what a jerk ↵Alberto Contador is -- until some of the charities that had been donating ↵money to his cause decided they'd pay him a visit after a scheduled ↵Arizona surgery. The jig was up, Idaho authorities closed in, and Rice ↵decided to end the hoax in a definitive and tragic manner. ↵

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↵Weird, weird story that should have Chris Hansen in it somewhere. Is ↵there a moral in there? Maybe cancer charities should get random people ↵on the internet on the phone to confirm they're, you know, the right ↵gender and age and whatnot before offering money to them. Anyone who's gotten an email from a barrister in a sticky wicket ↵knows this. Is Isiah Thomas running these things? ↵

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↵(H/T to Deadspin) ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.