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A Friedens couple were charged on Thursday with theft after state police accused them of faking the birth and death of a child in order to collect money, gift cards and groceries from friends and family.

Geoffrey Lang, 27, and Kaycee Leigh Lang, 23, each face charges of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and receiving stolen property, all first-degree misdemeanors, court records indicate. State police alleged in criminal complaints that the Langs feigned “the existence and death” of a child named “Easton Walt Lang.”

The author of an obituary for “Easton Walt Lang” published in the July 13 edition of The Tribune-Democrat wrote that the child had been born at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center at 3:11 a.m. July 3, that “Easton’s parents were blessed with just a little over 5 hours before he went to his heavenly home at 8:20 a.m.” and that “Easton experienced holding hands and hugs and kisses with his mommy and daddy and being told (an) uncountable number of ‘I love yous.’ ”

On July 19, however, a report was made to state police in Somerset that the Langs had feigned Kaycee Lang’s pregnancy and the child’s birth and death. A trooper viewed pictures of “Easton Lang” that had been posted on both Langs’ Facebook pages and observed that the subject of the pictures “matched the appearance of a newborn look-a-like baby doll,” according to the affidavit.

On Aug. 5, the trooper confirmed that there were no records of Easton Lang or Kaycee Lang on file at the Cambria County Coroner’s Office, the Somerset County Coroner’s Office or Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, according to the affidavit. Both Langs were interviewed at the Somerset state police barracks that same day.

Kaycee Lang claimed that the baby was born at 3:11 a.m. July 3 at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, but died hours later of respiratory distress syndrome, according to the affidavit. She then was discharged from the hospital, she allegedly said, because “there was no reason for her to be at the hospital since she did not have a baby anymore.”

Geoffrey Lang told police that he was not present at the hospital for the baby’s birth and death, according to the affidavit. The baby’s body was cremated at Hindman Funeral Home, he allegedly claimed. Hindman Funeral Home personnel confirmed to police on Aug. 6 that they had not cremated anyone named “Easton Lang,” according to the affidavit.

Investigators who executed a search warrant at the Langs’ Kent Lane home on Aug. 6 allegedly found an urn personalized for “Easton Walt Lang” and what was described in the affidavit as “a lifelike baby doll,” among other items.

On Aug. 9, a woman allegedly told state police that she created an account for the Langs on GoFundMe, a crowdfunding website through which users can collect donations, at the request of Geoffrey Lang’s mother. She said that Kaycee Lang helped write an appeal for donations that was posted on the website, according to the affidavit.

Between Saturday and Wednesday, at least six people told state police that they had donated money, groceries or other items to the Langs, either at a baby shower before the child’s “birth” or after his “death,” according to the affidavit.

Some of the donations allegedly were made through the GoFundMe account.

A preliminary hearing for the couple is scheduled to be held at 1:15 p.m. Oct. 1 before District Judge Kenneth W. Johnson, of Somerset, according to court records.

Mark Pesto is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkPesto.

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