(CNN) – Kalista 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.”
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 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.”
But police say her co-workers started becoming suspicious when they tried to hang fliers to get support and Patterson insisted they didn’t, and after 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.”