It seemed like a cruel crime: Create a Facebook page to memorialize a 7-year-old boy and raise funds for the grieving family -- even though the boy was very much alive.
His mother was made distraught by the sudden phone calls offering condolences. News stories about the seeming scam caused outrage.
The creation of the page, it turns out, was the result of big misunderstanding.
Two young teens who knew the boy, Javier Ramirez, had been chatting online when a dark joke made by one of them about the child was taken as honest truth by the other.
"It looks like this was a hoax that just got carried away," Fullerton Police Department Sgt. Jeff Stuart said.
It started on Sunday, when someone posted a page in memoriam for Javier under his nickname, "Liddo Honesto." Within hours, the page had 8,000 likes – and Javier's mother Patricia Quintana was receiving phone calls about her son.
On Monday, she filed a police report, and Fullerton police began investigating.
They soon found out about an online conversation between a 14-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy who both knew Javier through their former babysitter.
The boy asked about Javier, and the girl made a very dark joke.
"She says, thinking it's going to be funny, 'Oh, you didn't hear? He didn't died in a car accident,'" Stuart said.
The boy didn't undertand it was a joke, and created the Facebook page.
"It takes off like wildfire," Stuart said.
The girl, realizing what had happened, tried to get in touch with the boy but was unable to reach him. Meanwhile, the page's "likes" kept growing.
At the time of the police report, Quintana (pictured at right with Javier) was concerned in part because it seemed the page's creator had been trying to raise money for a car wash. She – and many other angry readers of news coverage of the page – was furious at what appeared to be a scam.
Fullerton police found that the car wash post had been taken off the page by the time they began looking into the matter.
"There was no criminal intent by the young man. He wanted to help the family," Stuart said.
No charges will be filed and the page has been taken down.