Two Pinellas County inmates who were housed together committed adoption fraud and were arrested last week.
Authorities have no evidence leading them to believe the two women, who were both incarcerated while pregnant planned to commit the fraud together. In June 2019, an adoption agency informed authorities about suspected fraud. They said that Joshua and Lindsey Buechler, both 35, from Nebraska were contacted by a Direction of Adoptions to let them know that their adoption profile had been selected by 26-year-old Ceara Stowe.
Stowe signed a pre-birth adoption agreement for the Beschler family to adopt her twins on December 21, 2018. At the time, Stowe was serving time at the Pinellas County Jail. Excited to adopt the twins the Buechlers signed and accepted the Acceptance of Adoption Agreement for Fees to adopt her unborn twins on December 24, 2018.Stowe communicated with the Buechlers through jail email and handwritten letters. On March 4, 2019, she was released from jail and continued communicating with the Buechlers by phone and text.
In late April or early May, according to the news release, Stowe informed the Buechlers that her doctor planned to induce labor on June 3, 2019. The communication continued and she maintained her decision to place the unborn twins with them. The Buechlers paid fees to Stowe for rent, food, and personal items during her pregnancy. Stowe requested $2100 from the Buechlers, $1500 for rent, $250 allowance and an additional $350 for bills. The Buechlers paid the $2100 to Stowe.
Stowe sent a text message to the Buechlers that she was headed to Bayfront Hospital to be induced on June 3, 2019. The couple arrived a few hours later and learned that Stowe had not been admitted. They sent text messages to Stowe, but she did not answer. It was learned that Stowe gave birth to the twins on May 26, 2019, without notifying the Buechlers. When she requested the $2100 payment, she did not mention that the twins had already been born.
On August 14, 2019, detectives conducted an interview with Stowe. Stowe admitted to signing the pre-birth agreement and receiving funds after rescinding the adoption agreement without notifying the Buechlers, and after giving birth. She was arrested for two felony counts of Adoption Deception and transported to jail. Stowe’s mother took custody of Stowe’s twins and four other children.
On August 16, 2019, Angelica Lopez, 30, was arrested for Adoption Deception. The investigation began when authorities were notified by Susan Deckrow, who was assisting with the adoption. Deckrow informed 38-year-old Gregory and 41-year-old Amaia Garbee, that their adoption profile had been selected by Lopez.
Lopez was pregnant and incarcerated and signed a prebirth agreement for her unborn child on December 20, 2018.Gregory and Amaia Garbee signed and accepted the Acceptance of Adoption Agreement for Fees to adopt Lopez’s unborn child on December 27, 2018. Lopez communicated with the Garbees through jail email and written letters, She was released from jail on February 7, 2019. Lopez continued her communication with the Garbees and Deckrow by phone and text. The Garbees would meet Lopez for a weekly lunch until the beginning of April. She told them she was due
Lopez gave birth on April 4, 2019, but did not tell the Garbees or Deckrow. She continued to act like she was pregnant, even sending photos on April 17, 2019, of swollen feet and an enlarged stomach that were taken before giving birth. She received three checks for $1100 after giving birth that were deposited in her bank account. A case was opened regarding Lopez’s child by the Child Protection Investigation Unit. During the investigation, Deckrow learned that she had given birth to the child two weeks prior. Deckrow said that she would not have continued dispersing funds from the Garbees to Lopez if she would have known.
Lopez admitted to accepting funds after giving birth and rescinding the adoption agreement, without notifying the Garbees or Deckrow. Lopez was arrested on one felony count of Adoption Deception and transported to the Pinellas County Jail without incident. The child has been placed with a caregiver by the Pinellas County Child Protection Investigation Unit.
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