Fake obituary for 7-year-old outrages boy’s mother
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
NEW CASTLE, Colorado – The father of a 7-year-old boy has placed an apparently false obituary announcing the boy’s death, for purposes that have yet to be revealed.
The situation has prompted alarm among the family members of the youth, Seth McCoy, and has generated an investigation by the New Castle Police Department.
But, according to an Arapahoe County sheriff’s official, the boy is not dead, and the boy’s mother, Jennifer Stretch, is questioning the father’s mental state.
“[Seth]’s sitting across from me right now, alive and well,” Stretch told the Post Independent on Tuesday.
A New Castle police officer, who did not give his name, confirmed that an investigation has been started into the matter. But Officer Charles Butcher, to whom a reporter was referred to discuss the case, would neither confirm nor deny that any such case existed.
On Aug. 30 Clarence Jason McCoy, using the name Jason McCoy, submitted to the Post Independent an obituary for his son, Seth McCoy. The boy formerly attended Elk Creek Elementary School in New Castle but last year moved with his mom to the Denver area.
Authorities on the Front Range and in Garfield County, though declining to give exact information about the boy’s current status, indicated that he is enrolled in a school in the Denver area.
The obituary, published on Aug. 31, was submitted jointly by Jason McCoy and a woman named Bethany Tharp, claiming to be Seth’s mother. The notice asserted that Seth had died on Aug. 8 at “Children’s Hospital.”
It did not identify the location of Children’s Hospital.
The obituary also did not name Seth’s mom, among the listed survivors, and Stretch said she is puzzled by the obituary.
“I don’t know his purpose was in doing this,” Stretch said of her ex-husband on Tuesday. “Maybe he didn’t want to pay child support, or maybe he just wanted attention. Or maybe he’s mentally unbalanced.”
She said the couple has been divorced since April.
Jason McCoy, reached by telephone on Tuesday, confirmed that he had placed the obituary, and that he has been divorced from Stretch for several months and that they have been separated for the past couple of years.
Regarding his son’s status, McCoy stated unequivocally, “He has passed away. I have his ashes.” The cause of death, McCoy said, was brain tumors and cardiac arrest.
Concerning the conflicting reports about whether his son is alive or not, McCoy said, “I believe it is my mother who’s going around saying lies like this [that Seth is alive].” He said his mother, Trudy Ore, had suffered a severe emotional shock over the boy’s death.
Calls to Ore’s home and cell phones were not returned, and subsequent calls to McCoy also went unanswered.
A series of posts by Tharp on Facebook catalog a shocking series of health complications, supposedly on Seth’s part. The posts describe several brain tumors that, according to the posts, put Seth into a coma in early August, shortly before he underwent surgery and reportedly died.
But at least one law enforcement agency has stated that Seth is alive and living with his mother in the Denver area.
Lieutenant Kevin Heaton of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office told the Post Independent on Tuesday, “As far as we’re aware, the child is fine.” He said a school resource officer specifically checked on Seth McCoy’s welfare at school last week.
In addition, there is no record of Seth McCoy having died at a Children’s Hospital in the Denver area, or of a boy by that name being processed through the coroners’ offices of Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas or Jefferson counties.
And, in the words of the boy’s mom, “He’s been very healthy. He’s been at my house all summer.”
Stretch said she has contacted the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office to start an investigation, but spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis said no such investigation had begun as of Sept. 4.
But Stretch, distraught over the entire situation, is at a loss concerning what she should do.
“This is bordering on slander,” she said.
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