A woman who allegedly told local churches that her child needed a kidney transplant has been arrested by Levy County Sheriff’s officials on one count of scheme to defraud, and could face more charges in the city of Williston and in Marion County.
On Dec. 2, Investigator Roger Bell arrested Misty Dawn Everly, 34, of 19039 S.W. 29th St., Dunnellon.
According to the sheriff’s report, on Nov. 23 she went to a Bronson church and addressed the congregation holding her 4-year-old child, saying that her child needed a kidney transplant. Everly allegedly said her child has cancer of the kidney and she received a phone call from St. Jude’s hospital in Memphis, Tenn., that they were keeping a child on life support and she needed to travel to the hospital to receive the kidney transplant. She requested prayer and money for the trip and the congregation prayed for the child and gave them a love offering of $420 in cash.
At the end of the church service Everly went across the street to another church and gave them the same story.
The following week Everly allegedly went to two churches in Williston and gave them the same story. Her performance was so moving that in some cases parishioners were brought to tears. At least $1,400 was allegedly given to Everly by two different congregations in the county.
However, she was audio taped by one congregation and video taped by another.
According to a release from the Williston Police Dept., Everly, who used the name Misty Sanders, has been operating between Winter Park and North Central Florida. She has an extensive record for fraud. She was on felony probation for worthless checks.
Williston police said that during questioning, her daughter placed her hand over her mother’s mouth. The child had done the same thing in one of the local churches.
She is also being investigated for appearing at two churches in Marion County.
According to Williston Police, Everly’s life partner, who drove her to the churches, is under investigation as well.