Police: Warsaw man solicited money for child battling cancer, never gave the family the donations

Updated: 05/15/2014 11:14 PM
Created: 05/15/2014 12:18 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

If you got a knock on your door, asking you to donate money for a young child with cancer, chances are you’d probably try to help. But how would you feel if that money never made it to the child. That’s exactly what police in one local town say happened.  That’s why they have charged Anthony Hare with scheme to defraud and petit larceny.

The little girl’s name is Lexi. People across the community know her story and many want to help. People say they are shocked that something like this could happen to a toddler battling a serious illness. But her family is focused on something else, which is helping her get well.

Playing is what four-year-old Lexi loves to do. Her mom says that has been a challenge until recently. Six months ago, Lexi was diagnosed with leukemia and it has not been easy since.

Jen Sonricker, Lexi’s mom, said, “She's had a blood clot, she had a really bad infection near her brain behind her ear. She also had fungal lesions throughout her body. She’s on antifungal medication for about six months, IV every day. So you got to be there. I'm her nurse.”

Jen Sonricker has had to take a leave from teaching. Lexi requires care around the clock. That has put a financial strain on the family of six. Lexi has a twin brother and two younger sisters. 

Community members have stepped in to help with fundraisers. Police say a man claims he also wanted to help Lexi. The Wyoming County District Attorney says Anthony Hare and two young women went door-to-door collecting donations, but the district attorney says what happened next is in his words “despicable”.

Donald O’Geen said. “The allegation is that he solicited money from neighbors in the community and he never turned the money over to the Sonricker family.”

Donald O'Geen says Hare raised a few hundred dollars that has never been given to the family.

News10NBC went to Hare’s home to speak with him, but he would not answer the door.

Sonricker said, “I can understand if he was coming from a good place. It is sad what happened. I have enough to worry about. We have to focus on Lexi and getting her better. That's where I'm at.”

Fred Witkowski is not as forgiving. The Warsaw resident was happy to give when he heard it was a fundraiser for Lexi. He says he gave without even thinking about it. When he learned the money had not been given to the family, he was extremely upset.

Fred Witkowski said, “Why are you doing something like this? It's sad. It is sad people are like this.”

Hare is charged with two misdemeanors, which carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail or a $1,000 fine. The district attorney says Hare could face additional charges and is asking if anyone gave to his fundraiser to contact Warsaw Police.

If you would like to help four-year-old Lexi, you can go to a FundRazr page set up for her. There is also a Facebook page for Lexi called, "Helping Lexi Kick Leukemia". 

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