They were dancing to forget a terrible truth.
Jessica Vega was 23 years old and dying of acute myeloid leukemia.
Her illness was terminal.
She wanted her boyfriend, Michael O'Connell, the father of their little girl, to marry her, but she didn't have much money.
A woman from a bridal shop helped by donating a wedding outfit.
The local paper wrote a story, and donations came in.
Ms. Vega got married and she and her new husband honeymooned in the Caribbean.
Until he got suspicious.
He accused her of faking her illness.
She produced a letter that said she was at the doctor.
Yet the doctor's office said they did not know her.
The letter was forged.
Ms. Vega was not ill. She made up the cancer story to get Mr. O'Connell to marry her.
They divorced. He moved away. Because of her lies, she was charged with various felonies and jailed.
However, life is rarely so neat and simple.
Before she was jailed, her ex-husband had invited her back into his life, and they had another baby.
And although Mr. O'Connell was angry and had helped provide evidence to the attorney general investigating her crimes, he now said:
“She's a good mom, and that's all that counts at the end of the day... I want my kids to have their mother back.”Rather than jail time, Mr. O'Connell and others believe she needs mental health treatment.
(She eventually pleaded guilty to first-degree scheme to defraud and third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.)
- Duped donor says lying bride needs help, not prison time,Times Herald Record, Recordonline>>
- Bride Who Faked Cancer to Score Dream Wedding, Honeymoon Is Charged, ABC News>>