Stranger claims to know girl who died of cancer, tries collecting funds

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - In the midst of the pain of losing its 12-year-old daughter to cancer, a Northwest Harris County family is dealing with a second tragedy. While Angel Leal was making funeral arrangements Tuesday for her daughter Ariel, a friend spotted a woman holding a strange poster in Southwest Houston. It had Ariel's photo with a request for money. But the parents said they have no idea who the woman is.

"She was a great loss to us, a lot of us," said Leal, referring to her late daughter. "I just can't believe that someone would stoop that low and do that."

Ariel's family said the photo was taken from a Facebook page set up to help the family with medical expenses and expected funeral costs, and to provide supporters with hope.

"I wanted them to show that the power of prayer does have power, that God does answer prayers," said Leal. "Even if they're small."

But less than 24 hours after Ariel's death, the person with the sign, who would've had to follow the page, was on the corner of Hillcroft and Gulfton using Ariel's image to try to make money the family members said they didn't ask for.

They said their friend asked the woman who she was and she told the woman she was a friend of the family. The woman stayed quiet and hopped on the next Metro bus to leave the scene. She refused to show her face for any photos, but Ariel's family said she needs to be caught.

"Why would she hurt someone that way? I'm already down in the dumps," said Leal. "For her to kick me while I was down, that was really low. That was really low."

Ariel lost her two-year battle with brain and spine cancer Monday. The family still needs about $5,000 for funeral costs.

Click here if you'd like to help the family with funeral costs.

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