Chesterfield bus driver charged after falsely claiming her daughter had leukemia, conning coworkers out of money

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Chesterfield mom is facing charges after police say she conned co-workers out of money and gifts by claiming her daughter was terminally ill.

Police say she worked as a bus driver for Chesterfield County schools.

“I did give her some gifts and stuff for her and her daughter because I felt really bad,” said parent Kalista Hornick.

Hornick says 26-year-old Katie Patterson was her son’s bus driver.

“She told me back in October of last year that her daughter was sick with cancer. I told her I am so sorry to hear that and that I could not imagine one of my kids having cancer,” said Hornick.

Police say Hornick isn’t the only one that was lied to. Investigators say Patterson started telling co-workers some time back in September that her 4-year-old daughter had Leukemia. They say shortly after she began asking them for help with doctor co-pays, food and Christmas gifts, eventually getting more than $2,000 dollars in donations. Hornick says Patterson was extremely convincing.

“Every time we would have a conversation I would ask about her daughter, she would tell me she’s going to her doctor’s appointments, taken her medication, she’s doing OK,” said Hornick.

Police say her co-workers started becoming suspicious when they tried to hang fliers to get support and Patterson insisted they didn’t. Additionally, a friend of one of the victims saw Patterson’s daughter out in public and thought she looked fine.

Authorities say Patterson’s co-workers confronted her, causing her to quit. Some parents say they didn’t know Patterson’s story was allegedly a hoax until Friday when her picture appeared on the news.

“I’m sad for her daughter, I’m sad for my son and the kids on the bus, because now I have to explain to my 13-year-old who’s on the autism spectrum that his bus driver will not be coming back,” said Hornick.

8News went to Patterson’s home and asked if she wanted to comment.  She told us she would contact her attorney first but we have yet to hear back.

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