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Gate City woman indicted, accused of false claims about daughter having leukemia in charity scam

May 9th, 2012 1:52 am by Staff Report



GATE CITY — A Gate City woman was indicted by a Scott County grand jury Monday for allegedly soliciting charitable donations through Facebook after claiming that her daughter was suffering from cancer.


Heather Sturgill, 38, 193 Reed Hollow Road, Gate City, was charged with a single count of attempted grand larceny, a Class 5 felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.


Authorities allege that Sturgill began posting on Facebook in September 2011 that her teenage daughter was suffering from leukemia when the girl was actually h e a l t h y.


Sturgill also allegedly asked for donations to help cover expenses and set up a checking account at a local credit union in Scott County to accept deposits.


Despite those efforts, Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus Mc-Clung said no money was apparently collected.


“Nothing was ever deposited in the account,” McClung said. “Nobody made any donations either.”


McClung said the Gate City Police Department was notified of Sturgill’s actions last year before turning the investigation over to special agents with the Virginia State Police.


Sturgill was among 20 people indicted on roughly 45 charges Monday by the grand jury.


Missing among those indictments were charges related to a pair of ongoing murder cases in Scott County.


Authorities had considered bringing charges before the grand jury in connection to a death last month at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield that stemmed from an altercation between two sex offenders.


Because the suspect in the case — Shannon Isiah Bellamy, 21, of Gate City — is currently incarcerated at the Duffield jail on sex and drug charges, McClung said investigators are taking time to build their case.


“We’re still gathering evidence at this time,” McClung said. “We also just received a report on Mr. Bellamy’s case Friday, which didn’t give us enough time to go before the grand jury. And we still want to speak with some of the victim’s family prior to bringing charges.”


McClung said he also anticipated additional charges and arrests to be made in the near future in connection to the Dec. 25 murder of Gregory Jerome Hale at his home in Nickelsville.


“We do have one more, possibly two more, suspects in the Christmas Day murder,” McClung said. “We anticipate more charges being brought very soon.”


The original suspect in the case had murder charges dropped in late April after the state’s eyewitness recanted his court testimony.
As a result of new information in the case, authorities arrested Charlie Joe Ramey, 60, of Bristol, Tenn., on charges of felony murder and grand larceny for Hale’s death.


McClung said his office is also working to decide if capital murder charges can be applied in either case.

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