Psychological Testing Ordered For Mich. Mom Accused of Using Son in Cancer Scam

Psychological Testing Ordered For Mich. Mom Accused of Faking Son's Cancer to Scam Charity
Carol Lynn Schnuphase in court Oct. 1, 2010 (AP Photo/The Detroit News, Todd McInturf)

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (CBS/AP) A judge has ordered competency and psychological testing for Carol Lynn Schnuphase, a Detroit-area mother who allegedly drugged her healthy 12-year-old son and shaved his head in order to scam cancer-support groups out of thousands of dollars in donations for his care.

Authorities say the 47-year-old single mother told her son he had leukemia and elicited $7,500 in donations from individuals, groups and members of at least one church who believed they were contributing to her son's medical care as he underwent chemotherapy.

Roseville District Court Judge Marco Santia postponed a preliminary examination for the unemployed mother Wednesday, according to The Detroit News.

The sham appears to have started in the spring of 2009 when she first shaved her son's head. Schnuphase's family members and relatives of her deceased husband eventually reported her to police.

After authorities removed the boy from her home earlier this summer, Schnuphase even went as far to tell past donors that her son died and that she needed money for his funeral and burial, according to Smith.

"A mother, no less, goes so far as to shave the head every other week, shave the eyebrows, and maybe the worst thing of all, to crushing up drugs to put in his applesauce to make him appear lethargic," said Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith.

A hospital declared the boy cancer-free, but said he experienced opiate withdrawal. Authorities haven't determined what drugs were in the boy's system and are awaiting hospital test results.

He is now in foster care.

Schnuphase faces two counts of fraud over $1,000, each carries a sentence of up to five years. She is also charged with one count of second-degree child abuse, a felony with a sentence of up to four years.

She pleaded not guilty and remains held on $100,000 bond, which her attorney Dominic Greco claimed was too high.

"She doesn't have any money," he said. 

Schnuphase's next court date is slated for Dec. 15.

October 1, 2010 - Mom Uses 12 Yr. Old Son in Alleged Cancer Scam; Lied to Steal Thousands, Say Mich. Cops