Woman accused in cancer scam found dead

July 24, 2009 11:02:53 AM PDT
A 24-year-old woman who allegedly ran a cancer donation scam that netted her thousands of dollars and gifts from celebrities has been found dead of an apparent suicide. Officials say Melissa Ann Rice, of Ammon, Idaho, apparently committed suicide days after a charge of grand theft by fraud was filed against her. Her body was found Wednesday in her car.

Bonneville County Sgt. Doug Metcalf says Rice fooled national cancer foundations into donating thousands of dollars and gifts to her by pretending to be a 15-year-old boy with brain cancer named Jonathan Jay White.

Deputies continue to investigate the case to return donations that included a skateboard autographed by Tony Hawk and a guitar autographed by Kenny Chesney.

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