GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – A woman concocted a heartbreaking story of how her soldier husband died a hero in Iraq (search) — and then admitted the story was all a hoax.
"I think I need some serious counseling," 24-year-old Sarah Kenney told The Daily Sentinel newspaper on Wednesday editions. "This is the most serious lie I've ever told, but I've been caught in many lies."
The touching story of how Spc. Jonathan Kenney (search) took a bullet meant for an Iraqi child on Jan. 29 was reported by a score of Colorado media after a news release was sent to them by the nonprofit group Homefront Heroes (search).
In reality, there is no record of a soldier with that name dying in Iraq. Sarah Kenney is married to a man named Michael Kenney, and he is neither currently in the military nor serving in Iraq.
Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said Tuesday that he had convened a team of investigators to look into the hoax and see if any laws were broken.
Phyllis Derby, founder and president of Homefront Heroes, said Kenney convinced her group the story was true. The account of the fictitious man's death was then released to local media.
"I would have never thought in a billion years that she was lying to me," Derby said. She said the donations on behalf of the fictitious soldier would be returned.