DEL CITY — Less than two weeks after a man was arrested in the shooting death of his 15-year-old grandson, family members discovered an online donation scam in the boy’s name.
The fraudulent PayPal account was brought to the family’s attention following a balloon release memorial held shortly after Jaquelin Caldwell’s death. Three of his cousins — Karen Frederick, Felicia Marzett and Chiquita Thrower — gathered Wednesday to alert the public about the scheme.
“It was devastating to us because people were actually donating to Jaquelin’s funeral,” Marzett said. “You just don’t do people like that. I feel sorry for my family, but I feel sorry for the ones that were doing the donating, because they had no clue.”
The family doesn’t know who started the fake account that’s since been taken down, but were told more than $1,000 had been donated before the scam was discovered. Donations to Caldwell’s real account can be made to any Municipal Employees Credit Union in the “The Caldwell Children Support Fund.”
Del City police responded to a disturbance March 21 at 2704 Eagle Drive and found Caldwell dead in a bedroom. His grandfather, Lochinvar Caldwell, 56, was naked and delusional inside the home, police said. Jaquelin Caldwell’s sister, Mona Lisa Caldwell, 17, told police her grandfather shot and killed her brother earlier in the day and forced her to stay inside the house.
Del City police said Lochinvar Caldwell showed signs of possibly being under the influence of PCP. He was taken to a local hospital for evaluation before being booked into the Oklahoma County jail. The case is still under investigation.
Caldwell’s cousins said they are reeling from the teen’s death, the accusations against his grandfather and the donation scam.
Lochinvar Caldwell was the children’s primary caretaker before his arrest, the cousins said. He told Marzett he had “no clue” how or what happened regarding his grandson’s death when she visited with him in jail Wednesday. As a parent figure, his cousins knew Lochinvar Caldwell as mild-mannered and protective.
“Always willing to help anybody,” Thrower said. “It didn’t matter who you were. If he could help you, he would. By this all happening, it’s still a shock to us.”
The cousins said the money raised in Jaquelin Caldwell’s name will go toward offsetting his funeral costs and Mona Caldwell’s college fund. In the wake of tragedy, Frederick said Mona Caldwell, an honors student at Del City High School, still has the opportunity to succeed. She recently toured Oklahoma State University.
“She’s got everything going for her,” Frederick said. “She’s an honors student. She’s looking forward to college. ... We want to embrace her in any way we can.”
Calls to the Del City Police Department for comment on the investigation into the fake donation account were not immediately returned Wednesday.