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Pregnant woman loses thousands in kidnapping scam

Posted at 10:25 PM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 01:50:18-04

MESA, AZ — A 21-year-old soon-to-be mother says one phone call sent her life into a spiral.

“It’s so unbelievably real," said Cheyenne Lovering-Hawkins. "You get fooled so easily.”

A man on the phone claiming to be a police officer told her that her mom was being held hostage by at least two men involved in a drug deal. They gave her a detailed story, saying she saw an exchange happen, and tried to bring attention to it, when the men decided to take her.

When the so-called officer got Lovering-Hawkins on the phone, he said he organized a call with the men, and got her on the line. Those men even held the phone to a screaming woman.

“It was my mother, I swear it was my mother," she said.

She followed the kidnappers' every demand, went to a bank, withdrew all her savings, and wired $2,000 to an account they provided. Then, she was told to destroy the receipts, telling her to drive all over the Valley to dispose of the pieces in different garbage cans.

“At the time you don’t think about it," Lovering-Hawkins said. "You just react, you hear your loved one and go 'Oh my God they’re in trouble, they need me and what can I do to help?”

Her mother, Amy Lovering, was fine, but confused at her daughter's frantic call.

“My first gut reaction is, 'Why didn’t you call the police? Why didn’t you reach out to me?'”

“She just found out she’s pregnant," said Lovering. "She took a sabbatical from work, so now she has a baby on the way, she has no income, and now she has no savings, she has no money.”

Lovering-Hawkins says she can only hope others don't follow in her footsteps.

"If I had something to say to everybody, it’s just be careful, think twice," she said, and admits the incident came with a silver lining: reconnecting with her mom after five months of not speaking.

“It’s brought us quite a bit closer.” said Lovering. "She is my hero because she had no idea that I was not in trouble and she did that for me.”

With a child on the way and a drained savings account, the family has set up a GoFundMe for Lovering-Hawkins for anyone who wishes to donate.