A mother from St. Joseph, Missouri, says a high school classmate used images of her 9-month-old baby as part of a scam to get money from men.
Ashley Standridge had used Facebook to document the growth of her baby, Isla Bailey, who was born with hypoplastic right heart syndrome, according to WDAF-TV.
"Basically the right side of her heart hasn't developed," said Standridge of her daughter, who has had three open-heart surgeries and two cardiac cauterizations, reports WREG.
But she said her daughter's condition hasn't kept her from growing into a happy baby.
"She is always happy," said the mom. "Even right out of surgery she was smiling and laughing and nothing that she has gone through has fazed her at all."
According to Standridge, she received a message from a stranger on Facebook, who told her that someone was using the photos she posted of her daughter as part of a scam.
"This person has been stealing photos of your daughter and using them to extort money from men," Standridge said that the stranger told her. She soon discovered the person using Isla's pictures was a high school classmate that was her friend on Facebook.
The woman had reportedly sent pictures of Isla and at least one other child, claiming the child was hers and asking for money from ex-boyfriends. The stranger who told Standridge is the current girlfriend of one of the men.
"I'm sorry, I would have wanted to know," the message reportedly said. "My boyfriend dated her for about a week, broke it off, she came back and said she was pregnant [...] Then would periodically send him pics of your baby girl."
"I thought this girl was an innocent person," said Standridge according to Independent Journal Review. "I went to high school with her and I didn't think anyone like that would ever do this to me and I was completely wrong."
Standridge said that the news was devastating.
"If I could compare it to anything it was like getting her diagnosis all over again. It was a punch in the gut," she said.
According to Isla's father, Nicholas Bailey, the high school classmate's story brought back memories of his daughter's health struggle.
"Just going through her surgeries, she stated that her heart stopped, and there has been instances where we’ve been real close to that and that’s not something I want to go through again. She made it seem like a story," said Nicholas.
Standridge warned other parents to be careful who they share their photos and information with on Facebook.
"Just be careful who you have on your Facebook," she said. "Make sure your Facebook is as locked down as it can be so people that you’re not friends with cannot see what you post. Be aware that these things do happen."