St. Landry

Aug 26, 2011 7:12 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Family Gets Scammed into Believing Their Soldier is Dead

Imagine hearing your solider serving overseas is dead, only later to find out, your loved one is really alive. An Opelousas family rode this emotional roller coaster and said the worst part of the whole ordeal was it was all a prank.

Five months ago LaShondra Guillory left home to serve her country in Afghanistan. She left her four year-old son in the trusted care of her good friend Carolyn Darbonne.

She said, "I was sleeping and just after 12, I got a call from the father of the baby saying she had passed. She was dead."

It was Darbonne's worst fear. She immediately sent a text message to Guillory's phone asking if she was alright.

She got a response saying, "it said she is not alright and please contact the family."

Darbonne sent a few more messages.

"I asked who am I speaking with," she said. "They said the Mortuary Affairs Officer."

Guillory's family reached out to the Red Cross to verify the news. After learning Guillory was in fact alive. Guillory called her family herself.

Carolyn said she cried with relief. Guillory told Darbonne she left her cell phone in a bathroom and someone stole the SIM card out of her phone and sent those terrifying messages.

This incident is under investigation by Army Internal Affairs. According to the US Army website, family will always be notified of a soldier's death in-person. The army's policy is to send two soldiers in uniform to the next of kin's home within four hours of confirmation of a soldiers death.

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