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The case of the fraudulent cancer patient “Jonathan Jay” has thickened, with one suspect now found dead five miles away from her home in Idaho.

The story of the 15 year old boy suffering from a brain cancer known as anaplastic astrocytoma has turned even more tragic in the days following the shocking announcement that there was no such child.  Jonathan Jay was receiving support via twitter, phone calls, text messages, memorabilia, monetary donations and celebrity items from organizations such as the Lance Armstrong Foundation and The Cancer Climber Association from well wishers who never met him in person but wound up knowing him better than we know our own family members.  One woman in particular grew a bond with “Jonathan”.  “LivestrongGena”, who herself has fought and beaten cancer, became “Jonathan’s biggest advocate and well wisher.  She spoke with Jonathan’s family members as well as Jonathan via text and phone calls and would send him items routinely in attempts to raise his hope and show her love towards the man.  This all changed late last week as Jonathan was getting ready to travel from his home in Ammon, Idaho to Arizona to have his scheduled brain surgery, and be met in Arizona by Gena who was traveling to offer her unwavering support and love.  As Gena was packing to head out to Arizona she received an email from a Melissa Ann Rice saying that there was no such person as Jonathan Jay and that it was a fraud. 

As soon as this information was received by the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Gena, they contacted the authorities in Ammon, Idaho to make them aware of the fraudulent claims and the address where the donations were sent.  The Bonneville County Sheriff Office went to Melissa Ann Rices residence to execute a search warrant for the premises to find that she was not there, but some of the memorabilia that was sent to “Jonathan” was.  On July 22nd The Bonneville County prosecutor filed felony grand theft charges against Rice for accepting monetary donations and memorabilia under a false pretense. 

Yesterday afternoon however is when tragedy struck again in this case of fraudulent activity.  Responding to a call in Henry’s Canyon, which is approximately 5 miles away from Rices home, the Bonneville County Sheriffs found Melissa Ann Rice dead in her car, all alone.  The Sheriffs office is still investigating the death of Rice, but all early signs point to a tragic case of a 24 committing suicide.  Information has been coming out about Rice since her identity was realized.  She suffered from dissociative identity disorder and was under the cover of being Jonathan White for at least 4 years in online activity.  Numerous individuals have come forward stating that they have given “Jonathan” their amazon account numbers for him to order books and other items as he chose.  He would never order anything without first asking consent from the individual and letting them know the costs.  Which brings up the question of not only why was this obviously disturbed woman on her own, but how could someone who made up an entire new identity, give it a fatal cancer, create a false sense of comfort for complete strangers from all over the country as well as have someone act as the child’s father and step-father have the sanity to do all of this on her own? 

As the police are following up on her cause of death, they are also looking for accomplices in this crime simply because for someone with this deep of a disturbance it is almost unfathomable for her to create this tragic mirage and scheme on her own.  Also the fact that Gena spoke with 2 different men, the father and step-father, with 2 completely different voices leads one to believe that there are more than likely at least one accomplice out there, possibly two.  Anyone with information in regards to donations made or information on Melissa Ann Rice is being asked to please contact the Bonneville Sheriffs Office at 208-529-1375.

With all of this said, the fraud committed against countless giving and loving individuals all the way to the tragic death of Melissa Ann Rice to everything in between which made her essentially switch identities 4 years ago to a young male teenager.  Considering Dissociative Identity Disorder is generally an after-effect of some form of severe trauma during early childhood, usually extreme, repetitive physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse.  Formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, most people do have some form of mild DID at various points of their lives, be it day dreaming or just becoming lost in certain moments when in the middle of doing something.  It is thought to be some form of coping mechanism used by individuals to escape from reality for distinct periods of time.  With Melissa’s 4 year run as thinking she was someone else it is leading professionals, with the little bit of known information right now, to think that as a child she had gone through some tragic event in her life, probably under the age of 10.

Melissa’s story from becoming another person for 4 years, which led to countless loving individuals to donate their time, money and physical items  as well as their prayers and thoughts, to the moment where she came clean in an email to the Lance Armstrong Foundation stating her fraudulent activity and ultimately her death in her car all along.  This is a woman who needed professional help and someone to look after her before it was too late.  Instead of seeking professional help she instead took an entirely different route of making up her own identity to get some form of sympathy and loving feeling in her heart.  She wound up accomplishing this with the Jonathan White identity, but alas her conscience got the best of her and could not make someone travel across the country for a lie. 

This harrowing story of a troubled woman who unfortunately lost her life while she battled demons has many life lessons in it, including forgiveness and prayers being offered by the very individuals who she defrauded as Jonathan White. 

One can only wonder how this story might have turned out differently if Melissa had reached out as her own identity for help and prayers instead of a 15 year old suffering from brain cancer.