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Scammer targets desperate Santa Rosa mom searching for baby formula

Santa Rosa mom of special-needs girl falls prey to baby formula scammer
Santa Rosa mom of special-needs girl falls prey to baby formula scammer 02:37

SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) -- Keely Aguilar has encountered both sides of humanity in her desperate search for the baby formula needed to keep her 11-year-old daughter Natalia alive.

Good Samaritans have answered her plea, dropping off cans of the EleCare formula she needs since she made her plight public, but those pleas also unfortunately attracted a scammer.

Aguilar told KPIX someone contacted her, offering to sell her a supply of the formula at a fraction of the cost.  

"I thought this sounds great," she said. "So I was happy to pay the reduced amount for the formula and the shipping is what we agree to."

She quickly sent off $250 for cases of formula that would have cost thousands of dollars at the current store prices.

"I sent the money and then their Facebook page was gone," she said. "It was pretty upsetting."

"It's infuriating, it's upsetting, it's shocking to me because I can't believe people would pray on innocent children and people who are desperately trying to feed their children,"  she added.

Natalia is one of only 200 people in the world diagnosed with Bainbridge Ropers Syndrome. She has one of the worst cases.

"Her respiratory system, her GI (gastrointestinal) system, she's had developments delays," Keely said explaining the syndrome's devastating impact. "She's unable to walk, she doesn't speak, so it pretty much affects every one of her systems."

Natalia's stomach doesn't have the ability to break down foods so she has a tube inserted to her intestines. That's how she eats.  Every night, she gets a steady stream of formula while she sleeps.

EleCare formula is the one she relies on for her nutrition. It's made by Abbot. The company that shut down one of it's main production facilities due to the possibility of bacterial contamination, adding to a nationwide shortage of baby formula.  

So just when Aguilar's faith in humanity was waning, Good Samaritans came to her aid. They donated cans of the formula.

"It's wonderful," she said. "People love Natalia and love us as a family so I'm very thankful for the people that have come to us and I'm trying to help any way they can. "

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