Sheriff’s Office: Couple Accused of Faking Daughter’s Cancer Kept Man’s Dead Body Hidden for More than a Year
Alicia M. Kelly (left) and Steven Scott Kelly (right) who were arrested last week on charges of lying about their daughter having cancer then swindling donations for her supposed treatment are facing new charges in connection with the body of a man found in Greenwood County on Saturday. Investigators say the Kellys knew he had been dead for more than a year but failed to report it.
Lesley Lane - GwdToday News Reporter
• Mon, Feb 07, 2011
“I’ve been in law enforcement since 1975 and this is the worst thing I have ever seen.”
Those were the words of Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis on Monday regarding a Greenwood couple, 38-year-old Alicia Kelly and her 39-year-old husband Steven Scott Kelly, who investigators say have lied for nearly two years, convincing a community that their 15-year-old daughter was suffering from a form of bone cancer.
Today, however, there are new developments in the case and the new details have even veteran law enforcement officers shocked and saddened.
On Saturday GwdToday reported that local law enforcement officers discovered the body of a man inside a camper on Highway 34, just outside of Ninety-Six. It is believed that the man had been dead for a year and a half. Today, law enforcement confirmed that the man was the elderly grandfather of Alicia Kelly, for whom she was responsible for caring for in his old age. Investigators say Kelly was aware that the man died around August 2009; however, she and her husband failed to report the man’s death in order to collect his social security checks and retirement monies. When the man’s body was discovered Saturday, it was reduced to bones, according to sources.
Chief Deputy Coroner Marcia Kelley-Clark of the Greenwood County Coroner’s Office says her office cannot release the man’s name until a DNA test positively confirms his identity. However, according to the man’s relatives, his name is Theron “Pete” Lunny.
The Kellys were initially arrested on February 4. The Sheriff’s Office says that Alicia Kelley was initially arrested on five fraudulent check warrants. They say investigators had prior knowledge that she claimed her 15-year-old daughter had cancer and that her claims were suspicious so after she was booked at the local detention center for the fraudulent checks they began questioning her about her daughter’s supposed cancer. Investigators say that is when Kelley came clean, admitting that her daughter never had cancer and had never been treated for cancer.
The Kelly’s reportedly scammed churches and kind-hearted individuals through benefits and fundraisers claiming they did not have enough money to treat their daughter’s disease. The Kellys also set up a website to share their daughter’s supposed daily struggle with cancer through an online journal and to solicit donations. The family also participated in benefits such as The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Investigators say the the 15-year-old initially believed that she was, in fact, cancer stricken. They say Alicia Kelley was giving her daughter medications and telling her that it was her “chemo medicine.”
On Friday, the Kellys were arrested and charged with swindling. The media coverage that followed, led to a family member of the Kellys calling sheriff’s deputies and inquiring about an elderly man the Kellys were supposedly caring for, according to Sheriff Tony Davis. That man was Pete Lunny.
“When we began to question her about this man she was to be caring for and she told us that he was dead and had been dead since Thanksgiving 2010,” Davis said.
According to reports, investigators went to the location where Alicia Kelly said Lunny’s body was, a camper located in a wooded area off of Highway 34. They say when they arrived at the camper they found Lunny’s skeletal remains lying between a bed and a wall, covered with a blanket. Reports say there was no food inside the camper, only expired milk in the refrigerator that had an expiration date of August 2009. Reports say there was also a calendar inside the camper that was turned to August 2009. There was no electricity of running water to the camper.
An autopsy performed on Lunny Sunday did not find any trauma to the body, according to Kelley-Clark. She says the autopsy was unable to determine an exact cause of death. Investigators say the Kelly's neglect of Lunny led to his death and have charged both Alicia and Steven with abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult which resulted in death, saying the man could not properly care for himself. The felony charge could land the Kellys in prision for 30 years, if convicted.
Warrants obtained from the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office say that from March 2009 until August 2009, the Kellys knowingly and willfully neglected the man’s medical needs and did not provide him with sufficient food or supervision, which resulted in his death. Warrants say Lunny was often seen by others as filthy and having an extremely offensive odor.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Lunny moved to Greenwood from Greer, SC with the Kellys around March 2009 under the belief that the Kellys would be responsible for his care. They say when family members would inquire about Lunny and his location, Alicia Kelley would ensure them that Lunny was fine but that she would never tell the family where Lunny was. Reports say Alicia Kelly later admitted to investigators that she had been “living a lie” and convincing others that Lunny was still alive.
In addition to using Lunny’s social security and retirement checks for person use, investigators say Alicia Kelly was also writing checks from Lunny’s personal bank account, forging his name to the checks. They say Steven Kelley had a debit card in his wallet bearing the man’s name.
Both Alicia and Steven Kelly are facing multiple charges. Both are charged with two counts of swindling after allegedly defrauding two individuals for money and goods’, claiming their daughter was stricken with cancer. They are each charged with one count of abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in a death, in connection with Lunny’s death. They are also charged with three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Investigators say three of the couple’s five children had not attended school in two years.
Answer by gammie at 9:34 PM on Feb. 7, 2011
Answer by mrssundin at 9:36 PM on Feb. 7, 2011
Answer by NotPanicking at 9:37 PM on Feb. 7, 2011
Answer by agentwanda at 9:38 PM on Feb. 7, 2011
I would hate to be standing next to them when Karma comes looking.
Answer by QuinnMae at 10:26 PM on Feb. 7, 2011
Answer by Kwald2508 at 7:07 AM on Feb. 8, 2011
Answer by tasches at 3:15 PM on Feb. 8, 2011
Answer by MistyBlueMom at 6:43 PM on Feb. 8, 2011
Answer by scgritsgirl at 10:04 PM on Feb. 20, 2011
Next question overall
Are there any other moms from the 2123rd Transportation Co.?
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