Hannah Milbrandt was just seven years old when tragedy struck.
Her mum Teresa told her she had leukaemia. She shaved the little girl’s head, bandaged it and gave her pills.
While other kids were out playing, Hannah was sent to death counselling, designed to help terminally ill patients prepare for the end of their lives.
Teresa Milbrandt turned to the close-knit community of her hometown Urbana, Ohio for support and the community rallied.
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More than 60 people and business donated to fundraising events the Milbrandts organised, raising an estimated US$31,000 (AUD$41,500) towards Hannah’s medical bills.
After months of fundraising, Hannah’s teacher began to notice something odd – Hannah’s hair was growing back.
The observation sparked a police investigation where the truth was finally revealed. Hannah was never sick.
Hannah, now 21 and a student at Wittenberg University, still remembers the events of 2002 clearly.
“I remember a lot (of what happened). I remember feeling somewhat sick but not to the point of how I was being made out to be… but then I found out it was all not true,” Hannah told the Daily Mail.
In 2003, Hannah's parents were convicted of child endangerment and sentenced to jail.
Teresa was jailed for six and a half years for theft and child endangerment.
Robert maintained that he had not set out to defraud the town and had no idea his daughter wasn't ill, saying his wife took Hannah to all her doctor's appointments. Still, he pleaded guilty to child endangerment and served four years and 11 months in prison.