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The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Nancy Cantu, Juan Salvador Solis, and The Beaufort Gazette newspaper. First we'll get to why Ms. Cantu and Mr. Solis get the award.

COLUMBIA --An S.C. woman who claimed she was expecting quintuplets was arrested when police discovered she lied about the pregnancy, authorities said Tuesday.

Nancy Cantu, 37, and her boyfriend, Juan Salvador Solis, 22, were charged with obtaining goods under false pretenses when an ultrasound revealed Cantu was not pregnant, Sheriff P.J. Tanner said in a news release.

Police estimated the couple received anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 in gifts and money.

The couple from Lady's Island were featured in several local television and newspaper stories in the past few months. Their phone number and address was publicized at the end of one newspaper article, and community members began sending diapers, bottles and even cribs.

Police said the couple's story began to unravel when doctors preparing for the multiple births told investigators they were worried Cantu had not been getting regular prenatal care. On Friday, investigators met with the couple to discuss allegations that the pregnancy may be fake, and an ultrasound revealed Cantu was not pregnant, police said.

Sheriff's Cpl. Robin McIntosh said the couple remained in jail Tuesday on $25,000 bail each.

Dumb criminal exaggerates the intelligence of both Solis and Cantu. I understand what they were planning to do with money, but how about the baby stuff they received? I guess they planned to sell it at a flea market or something?

Did either Cantu or Solis think this scheme through to the end? They couldn't just stick around that part of South Carolina without people soon asking questions. Like when will the babies be born? Why haven't you given birth yet. Etc, etc. This crime was very dumb and not all that unlike this story. People faking their being HOM(High Order Multiple) parents for profit, taking advantage of people's generosity and wanting to be charitable. Its pretty disgusting and I name Nancy Cantu and Juan Salvador Solis are first two Knuckleheads of the Day.

Also note- The age of Solis is in question. He could be a minor, as young as 16. Solis and Cantu are also believed to be from Mexico. Immigration authorities are checking if these two are legally in the US.

Cantau and Solis have told so many stories, the 'mother' saying she was anywhere from 22 to 37 years of age, that you have a hard time believing anything they say.

As for the Beaufort Gazette, they get the award for publishing being an unwitting accomplice to these two con artists. The newspaper did say they are sorry for their part in this story.

It was a great story, we thought -- an unemployed couple living in a mobile home on Lady's Island, struggling to make ends meet and, against 54 million-to-1 odds, soon to be the parents of quintuplets.

It would have been a great story, if only it had been true.

When The Beaufort Gazette reported the story of Nancy Cantu and Juan Salvador Solis on Dec. 28, it sparked an outpouring of giving within our community. That wasn't surprising. Beaufort is a very generous community, and its residents have a long track record of helping their neighbors in need.

Everything changed Monday night, when members of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office arrested the couple and charged them with obtaining goods under false pretenses. A hearing has been set for Feb. 22. It was a scam, and we -- and many others -- were duped. For that, we apologize to our readers.

Our motivation in running this story initially was twofold: provide our readers with an interesting story about people in our community and help a couple who needed help. The Gazette has a long history of writing about our residents who are facing tough times, which is part of our mission as a community newspaper. But sometimes when you put your faith in human nature, you get burned.

We tried hard to obtain confirmation that Cantu was indeed carrying five babies. There was suspicion, but no proof, by some in the medical profession that her claim was bogus.

I won't let the newspaper off for their part in this story. A google search would raised plenty of red flags against Cantu and Solis. A HOM pregnancy is high risk, she would be seen by doctors on a weekly basis. Not an ordinary OB, but a perinatologist. Even without doing any internet research, the newspaper should have been asking

How did Cantu know she's pregnant with quints?
Where are the ultrasound photos? A hospital or doctor supplies little snapshots for free.
Cantu claimed to be pregnant with septuplets, but lost two of them after a fall. She would have been hospitalized, why didn't the newspaper ask what hospital or doctor saw the mother?
The odds of spontaneous(aka no fertility drugs) sextuplets is 4.7 billion to one.

There are other red flags, things people who have been through a HOM pregnancy would know about. My knowledge on the subject is learned from internet research I did for an online story of mine in 2005.

The couple's story was far fetched, and the newspaper out of laziness or naivette bought it hook, line, and sinker even after medical professionals expressed suspicions about the mother's tale. That's why I name The Beaufort Gazette today's third Knucklehead of the Day.


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Comments (1)

I guess they planned to... (Below threshold)
Adam:

I guess they planned to sell it at a flea market or something?

eBay.




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