GARLAND, Texas – A woman apologized Friday for a "bad decision" in helping her 6-year-old daughter win tickets to a Hannah Montana concert with an essay that falsely claimed the girl's father died in Iraq.
Priscilla Ceballos said she had not intended to mislead the contest sponsor but got caught up in helping her daughter "realize her dream of seeing Hannah Montana."
"Instead I brought so much negative attention to my family," Ceballos said, reading a statement on the "Today" show. "Please accept my heartfelt apology and please do not punish my child for my mistake."
Ceballos apologized specifically to the military and military families for falsely claiming the girl's father died in a roadside bombing in Iraq.
"I just wanted to help my daughter write a compelling story," she said. "There is no more compelling story than the struggle and sacrifices of our military and their families."
Officials with Chicago-based Club Libby Lu surprised the girl with the tickets and a makeover Dec. 28 at a store in a suburban Dallas mall. Club Libby Lu sells clothes, accessories and games for young girls.
The essay won her the grand prize: airfare for four to Albany, N.Y., and four tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana concert Jan. 9. The opening line in the essay was: "My daddy died this year in Iraq."
Ceballos admitted later in the day to store officials that the essay and the military information she provided about her daughter's father were untrue.
Club Libby Lu withdrew the prize the next day and awarded it to another unnamed winner.