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Posted October 22, 2012 | comments 5 Comments

Fraud suspect waives preliminary hearing

Woman accused of stealing donations, medicine intended for fatally ill child

By Joe Beck

A woman accused of stealing financial donations and medicines intended for a fatally ill child waived her preliminary hearing Monday in Shenandoah County General District Court.

A grand jury has been scheduled to hear evidence against Jessica Lynn Taylor, 28, of 136 North Place Lane, Strasburg on Dec. 5.

Taylor appeared in court with her attorney Jerry Talton. She is facing 16 felony counts and two misdemeanors linked to allegations that she took money from a bank account reserved for the medical expenses of the late Trent Williams. The boy died in July after a two-year ordeal with brain cancer.

Trent Williams, 8, and his family received an outpouring of support from his hometown of Strasburg and in distant parts of the world while he was being treated for the disease.

Strasburg police say that Taylor, who they describe as a "trusted friend of the family," was designated as administrator of the medical expense account while the Williams family devoted their time to the care of their ailing son.

When the Williams family checked the account in August, they found only $69 instead of the thousands of dollars they had been expecting, police said.

Police say they also found painkillers that were prescribed for Trent Williams during a search of Taylor's home. She was released from the Shenandoah County Jail on a $2,500 personal recognizance bond.

The charges against her include six counts of embezzlement; six counts of obtaining money under false pretenses, four counts of grand larceny and two misdemeanor charges of petty larceny.

Shenandoah County Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley said after Monday's hearing that the misdemeanor charges were dropped under a legal technicality but will be reintroduced for the grand jury to consider in December.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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