Hawkins County authorities say a couple concocted a story about having twins, then collected nearly $1,000 for the unborn infants.
“I asked her if she had been pregnant during those dates or if she had been pregnant during the last six months; to both questions she said no,” said John Parsons, Hawkins County Sheriff’s Detective.
Parsons tells us it started in September of 2012 when Courtney Murrell allegedly called an ex-boyfriends mother and told her she was pregnant with her son's twins. “She asked Mrs. Murrell if she had photos and she said ‘Yes, I do.’ She sent her some photos of the baby,” said Parsons.
We spoke with the alleged victim, who didn’t want to reveal her name. She told us she and her husband were excited about the new additions and said Murrell had told her she couldn't afford to buy car seats for the babies. “She told her to come down to the house, saying ‘I’m going to help out with my grandbabies, I’ll give you some money to buy things.’ So she ended up giving her a check for $100,” said Parsons.
Detective Parsons tells us some time passed by before the alleged victim heard back from Murrell. ”Mrs. Murrell called the lady and said she needed to speak to her son. Her son was incarcerated here at the jail, and the reason she wanted to talk to him she said the babies were born in Johnson City and they were born dead,” said Parsons.
The victim says she asked about funeral arrangements and Murrell told her the babies had been cremated, because they couldn't afford the funeral. However, police say Murrell's husband Irvin was also allegedly taking money from co-workers to help with funeral costs. “Where he worked at, the employees took up some money for he and his wife and then the plant matched that money. He also received bereavement pay,” said Parsons.
The victim tells us she knew something was wrong and went looking for answers; it turns out the pictures she was shown came from the internet. Now she says she and her family are heartbroken and just want answers. It’s likely everyone else who donated money wants those too.
Courtney Murrell is charged with one count of creating a false impression of death and two counts of theft of property. She is out of jail on bond.
Irvin Murrell III is charged with one count of creating a false impression of death and one count of theft of property; he has also been released.