A trusted friend of the Strasburg family who recently lost their son to brain cancer has been arrested on charges of stealing medicines and financial donations meant for him.
Strasburg police on Aug. 6 arrested Jessica Lynn Taylor, 28, of 136 North Place Lane, Strasburg, and charged her with 16 felonies. She is accused of stealing money from a bank account intended to pay for the medical expenses of the late Trent Williams, the 8-year-old boy who captured the town's heart during his struggle with cancer.
Trent died last month after a nearly two-year battle with medulloblastoma. A legion of supporters - from Strasburg and around the world - had rallied behind Trent, his twin Logan, older brother Caden and parents Eric and Jennifer Williams.
In a press release issued Sunday, Chief Tim Sutherly said department Investigator Wayne Sager had "obtained reason to believe" that more than $2,000 "had been illegally removed from the account intended for Trent's medical expenses."
In the release, Sutherly described Taylor "as a trusted friend [who acted as the] administrator of the account" while the Williams family was focused on caring for their dying son. He said Taylor and Mrs. Williams had gone to school together and had been friends since sixth grade.
When the Williams family came home from the hospital, Sutherly said, "they noticed that the account [which] should have several thousand dollars in it, it only had $69."
In addition to the missing money, the Williams family noticed a bag they used for Trent's various painkillers was missing.
"When we searched her [Taylor's] house, we found that also," Sutherly said, noting the painkillers included oxycontin and fentanyl.
Sutherly said Taylor confessed to the crimes and has been bailed out of the Shenandoah County Jail on $2,500 bond. Taylor is scheduled to appear in Shenandoah County General District Court on Sept. 10, according to online court records.
- The press release states that Taylor was charged with:
- six counts of embezzlement
- six counts of obtaining money under false pretenses
- four counts of grand larceny
- two misdemeanor charges of petty larceny
"The family is extremely grateful for the overwhelming support received by the community and distraught that a close friend betrayed their trust in such a manner," Sutherly stated in the press release.
Sutherly said the investigation began when police fielded a call Aug. 5 from Mrs. Williams, informing them that donations in the account were missing. Prescription drugs intended for her son's medical condition were also reported missing, police said.
Police found the prescription drugs during a search of Taylor's residence, Sutherly said.
"When confronted with the evidence against her on Aug. 6, Jessica Taylor gave a full confession to Investigator Sager and was arrested . . ." Sutherly stated in the release.
Sutherly said the family is now managing all its accounts.
All donations can be sent to the Williams Family, General Delivery, Strasburg, Va. 22657, or to the foundation. Checks can be made payable to Friends of Trent, c/o First Bank, 112 W. King St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 or any First Bank branch to Friends of Trent.
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