CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Clarksville mother is behind bars after she reportedly faked her 12-year-old son’s death.
Vanessa Blanchard is the woman police say is facing charges after claiming that her autistic son died from a seizure.
A mother whose son attended school at New Providence Middle School with the boy explained classmates and teachers were devastated.
“I got a call from his homeroom teacher saying that his friend, because they were assigned together in class, that his friend had passed away unexpectedly over the weekend” said Alicia Maslo.
The beginning of November is when Maslo received that call, heartbroken and shocked as the community mourned the loss of the little boy.
“They set up a shrine in his classroom at his desk and raised funds for his funeral. Kids brought in their piggy banks,” Maslo said.
A School Resource Officer contacted Vanessa Blanchard on Oct. 29, asking why her son had not been attending school. Blanchard reportedly told the SRO her son died from a seizure two days earlier.
Students, faculty and staff raised money to try and help Blanchard pay for her son’s funeral. However, when the school contacted the funeral home, they were told no funeral arrangements for the child had been made.
That’s when the school then contacted Blanchard. She told them her son was awaiting an autopsy at Tennova Hospital.
On Nov. 16, her son’s school-issued laptop was found to be active at the Vacation Motor Motel.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies went to the motel where they found Blanchard’s son alive and by himself in the room.
Frustrated with the lack of transparency from the school, Alicia wishes they were told sooner the boy was alive.
Instead, she and her son found out for themselves.
“Shortly after Christmas, I take my son to GameStop, as all little boys like to do, and we walk into the door — the boy is standing right there spending his Christmas money with his new foster family,” Maslo said.
Maslo and her son were in disbelief.
“Wait, what is going on. So, we immediately turn around had a freak out in the parking lot. My son was screaming and crying and trying to figure out what the heck just happened,” Maslo said.
The mother and son took a deep breath and walked back into the GameStop, where big smiles, hugs and even a selfie of the two boys was taken.
“His foster parent let us know it was a bad situation that his mother cooked up the whole thing and they’ve been dealing with all of the fallback from that.”
It was an ending they never saw coming — but a very fortunate one.
“People think oh it’s just one little lie. No, it was huge. It devastated 100 families,” Maslo said.
Blanchard is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child and false impression of death.