Yes, Warrior Eli is a Hoax

I have heard today from five people who received “Warrior Eli” bracelets.  All were sent from the United States.  This was explained away by JS and Dana as an easier mailing solution.

Reader 1 writes:  i’ve been talking to JS for four years. i am so dissapointed that this is all a hoax.
he had sent me a bunch of warrior eli wristbands and i thought you might want to know the return address.  supposedly his “sister” emily sent them to me, because he didnt want anyone to know where he lived exactly because he wanted to protect his children..

Reader 1 friended “JS’s sister” Emily on Facebook and received the following message.

Im sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to your friend request – I really haven’t been on facebook too much lately. Between school, work, taking care of my parents, and trying to get to Sask as much as I can it’s been crazy! I usually don’t accept friend requests from people that are also friends with J and Dana but you sound like you’re pretty awesome and I could totally get away with being friends with you without my Mom getting suspicious of anything! I do have a rather odd request though, if it’s ok, please don’t post anything related to J, Dana, the kids, or childhood cancer on my wall. I’m friends with my Mom on facebook and she doesn’t know that I still talk to J at all. I feel bad sneaking around behind her back to have a relationship with my brother but it is what it is.

Today, after child after child of “JS and Dana” were found to actually be the children of a popular South African blogger as well as many unsuspecting Flickr users, Reader 1 had the following conversation with “JS.”

JS:  “I feel like I should tell you before anyone else does that some people stole a lot of our photos and are calling my family a hoax and me a scammer. My father-in-law made all of our pages private to keep them away last night. Please stay away from these people, I really don’t want to lose you as a friend because of this bs”

Reader 1 will be blacked out to protect her privacy in these screen shots, but I’ve verified the contents.












I should note that Reader 1 is young and has been talking to “JS” for several years.  She’s heartbroken over this, but she was smart enough to realize something was very off about this situation.

I have more proof.  In fact, thanks to the wizards of the internet who have been emailing me all day, I know Emily’s work history, prior addresses, and favorite Harry Potter movie.

No, she doesn’t have a son, let alone a son with cancer.  No, she doesn’t have a brother JS.  No, she didn’t have a murdered brother Sammy.  And Dana didn’t die on Mother’s Day because Dana is not a real person.

I personally would like Emily to apologize to the people who’s pictures she stole, the people who she emotionally manipulated and the people who donated money to a charity she chose under EXTREMELY false pretenses.

I also think she owes a huge apology to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.  They are an incredible charity and did not deserve any kind of black mark on their reputation.

113 thoughts on “Yes, Warrior Eli is a Hoax”

  1. So I’m confused…is JS involved in this? Or is Emily in charge and he got caught off guard? Or are they all part of it?

      1. I certainly hope you’ve reported her. She’ll be banned from Facebook altogether. That’s heinous; 40 profiles? And she’s not mentally ill? I beg to differ. The girl is most certainly sick.

    1. I think the point is that JS isn’t real… Emily is the one acting as all characters and perpetuating the hoax.

  2. AM, chances are pretty good that this is all the workings of one person … all the “characters” created by one individual. “JS” is not real [the photo was stolen of someone else]. “Dana” and “Eli,” same thing. The photos are obviously of real people, but I don’t yet know who they really are [somewhere in New Mexico is all I know].

      1. It’s pretty amazing that (a) she was able to do it for so many years with so many different identities and (b) she then did something so incredibly easy to debunk. I mean, did she really think that the death of a mother of 11 (including a newborn AND a cancer patient!) on MOTHER’S DAY would NOT generate any news coverage? That would make CNN, and there was not a peep about it, an obvious clue that something wasn’t right. So how could someone crafty enough to pull of (a) be naive enough for (b)? Maybe 7-ish years of doing it gave her undue confidence, or maybe, like other psychotic conditions, she just needed to escalate get the same effect.

        Whatever it was, it looks like Mr. warriorelihoax has the makings of an incredible book in this little episode. Personally, I’ll wait for the movie. 🙂

  3. I would be very concerned about this young woman hurting herself. Please be cautious in how much vengeance you feel compelled to exact from someone who is clearly disturbed, and will now be reeling. I’m not defending the actions, and have no desire to discuss it beyond the obvious desolation required to spend the time to craft such a hoax. If this began as a teenager and Emily is now 23-24ish, she has lived a portion of her life immersed in a world where she had utter control. Since I took the FB post yesterday at its face, I’m as culpable as anyone for believing the life. But —- forgive me, now with all of the details added, it’s tough for me to see this as some mastermind gone wrong. This was entertainment, at the expense of many innocent people. It needs correction, but I just worry about getting all “internet warrior” on someone who clearly has very little in the way of coping skills. Think about if Emily were your sister, daughter or niece. It’s not too farfetched to say her parents must have left her very alone, with computers, for much of her adolescene. Let it be a lesson to all of us. So sorry.

    1. I was very concerned about that and that’s why I didn’t pile on a ton of evidence. I feel sympathy for Emily and I hope she gets help. I can understand why anyone who has a child with cancer would feel cheated by spending time (in some cases SEVEN YEARS!!!) worrying about an imaginary child, but clearly this is a saga that sprung from a disordered mind.

    1. Seriously. And every.single.thing written by “Dana” sounded ~ how can I put this charitably ~ not like and educated person. Like a tween. I truly sympathize, ugh. Poor chica.

    1. We haven’t found him yet. I would most love to find out who the boy in the pictures of “Eli” is, because he is someone who could use real support from the incredible community that was duped by this.

  4. Try and picture this scene. It’s almost funny.
    “Eli, your mom died.”
    “ok, dad. We better go online and tell everyone.”
    “Eli, we had to make your webpages private today.”
    “NOOOO!!! WHYYYY?!?!?!?!” ~hysterical sobbing ensues….

    1. I agree with this one. Also, if your wife was just killed in a car accident would you be logging into Facebook to talk about it?

      1. yeah that was something strange i noticed about JS, he was ALWAYS online and available. you’d think with 11 kids, one with cancer and a job as a cop he’d be kind of busy for facebook right..?

  5. Please don’t post this, I think you should contact her local police if as the writer says and I do believe she is mentally not there. She may do something to herself.

  6. So in the above conversation Emily was posting as JS…and all those pics on Facebook that had JS tagged in them on other people’s pages are of someone else…including all of those who others were tagged in as well?

  7. so there really is a sick kid out there somewhere and we don’t know who he is? or is there? I have followed them for a long time and am so confused…

    1. There is a sick kid in the pictures Emily posted. He is not her child or her nephew. We don’t know who he is or if he is currently sick, was sick five years ago or even had died. A reader recognized the hospital pictured as one in New Mexico. I’d absolutely love to find the “real Eli” in the pictures and let his family know.

      1. I hope you can find him. Although this is all a hoax, it would be nice to let the family know that their child’s pictures are being used. Thank you for finding some answers.

  8. There are other victims here as well. I mean, all the fake profiles made of JS’s friends, many of whom were claimed to be police officers (RCMP). While the names are fake, the photos are of real RCMP people and they are supposed to go about their jobs and wonder why someone might look at them funny/badly (not just because their image is implicated in this deceit, but what if they believe what they’ve read and think “oh, this is that cop who liked to boast on his page how drunk he got on the weekend with his buddies”) . The victims in this are all the people who those photos really belong to (children AND adults).

  9. Just another great example of why people are absolutely CRAZY for posting pictures of their kids on the internet. Just thinking about all the perverts that have access to a virtual playground, provided by parents, makes me sick.

    1. Yeah. I had a blog for a little while and posted a couple pics. A few weeks later I got all skeezed out and took all the pics down just from straight up paranoia. Never again will I have kid pics online.

  10. I feel so betrayed. So lost and confused. I was absolutely heartbroken yesterday when I heard that Dana has passed away. I would cry and I would catch myself looking at her photos on her page. I did however notice that the wedding photos she had posted, JS looked completely different than the party pictures. I wish we knew who he was. Eli was a little boy that touched my heart. I am so sadden to hear that this is all a hoax. When I first heard of all of this I didn’t believe it. Until I saw the pictures of Lily and Jude. Excuse me I mean Adam and Kate, their rightful names. It blew me out of the water. I couldn’t believe it. Today has been a rough day for me since I have know “JS” for around 6-7 years. I feel some what lost as I am sure a lot of other people do. I have learned not to trust everything you read and see on the internet. It’s going to take me awhile to trust again. But as the day closes I will move on and take this as a learning experience.

    1. i know exactly how you feel. i am mourning the loss of a four year friendship to someone who didnt exist. i would talk to JS every single day and spill my heart out to him. i thought i felt like he was the big brother i always wanted but never had. now im sitting at my computer learning that this JS figure is actually a woman named Emily, there is no child named Eli, who i’ve been advocating for and handing out hundreds of his bracelets.
      i feel scammed and i feel stupid for falling for it. more than that i miss someone who was my friend for four years and now i learn that they are not even a real person.
      so disappointing.. but like you said, lesson learned right?

  11. My daughter REALLY battles Hepatoblastoma so this infuriates me. Could you atleast block out the word “retarded”. It’s a very offensive term for those of us in the special needs world. thank you.

    1. Agreed. As the mom of a ‘retarded’ child, The word retarded as slang is far worse than seeing f*** in print

  12. I would be very interested to know how old this Emily person is? and she has been doing this for 6-7 years? she seems to have had a ton of medical knowledge (more than it would seem to be able to have gotten off the internet)…she knew about chemo drugs, pacemakers, heart drugs, all of this and & more & it (to me and I have a medical background) seemed plausible…think this is one reason red flags did not go up for me right away, that and the sending of the bracelets (who really goes that far?) well we know who but, it blows me away…a couple of things that raised flags for me, was the seemingly lack of emotion at Dana’s death…(too quick to say he was moving on and taking time to post pics of Evie the new baby, I mean, think about it…your wife just died hours before, you have 10 kids to look after, one a very sick little boy and a very newborn…who really would have time to post pics of the new baby??? another flag was when JS was in hospital in ICU
    at the hospital where Dana worked, cause her “coworkers” were looking out for him in ICU and they were talking about sending him home with a PICC line and they were requiring her (Dana) to take a class on how to care for a PICC line and she was a trauma surgeon???
    and do we know who the baby’s picture really belongs to???

      1. If it’s the same person, she’s done a lot of work with Animal Cognition and Neuroscience. Perhaps she sees her scam as an “experiment,” and the general population is nothing more than lab rats or guinea pigs.

  13. ***On mobog there is a caution sign pic and this is posted under it. The child was @ nationwide childrens hospital in Columbus Ohio. So probably visits/volunteers in that hospital to know these people. this was 2 years ago/

    ” don’t usually ask for things like this but this is a very special little girl fighting the same cancer Eli did as a newborn. She’s not doing well and she’s asking for guestbook signatures or cards from all around the world. http://www.caring “

  14. The one thing she wanted was for her mother not to know. Probably because she would know it is a scam. I suspect the mother will be embarrassed but eventually write back.

  15. one thing that really bothers me is that she duped a bunch of “biggies” in the cancer world…parents that have been stuck in this horrible world for a long time, she got them…she got this over on them…when you look through pages of this stuff you see parents (I have read their caringbridges) who have real problems with cancer, some who have lost their kids and I really really feel bad for them…

  16. Also- person who runs this site- I need some help shutting down a scammer on facebook. She has decided to privately target one of my friends. She says she lives in the Philippines and had cancer as a child and now needs money to get medical help. My friend has been sending her money for 2 years and is on disability himself and cant afford it. Please help me.

  17. Any connection with young Eli Horn who died of neuroblastoma earlier this year? Check out

      1. If she’s really a medical student, won’t she be relieved of her status as such? How seriously creepy to think that she may have had access to children who were suffering — i.e. taken the Columbus photos HERSELF. I keep saying I don’t want any further involvement with this, but here I am checking your blog again. Just — captivating, in the worst way.

    1. Eli Horn is very legit. My son is treated at the hospital he was treated at. All of this doctors and nurses were wearing Eli Horn bracelets the day after he passed away.

  18. Yes, I can confirm Eli is Esther’s son. I found a link but I am NOT posting it because until someone contacts here I do NOT think we should be posting links about her here. She didn’t ask for this and she might not like the attention.

    1. I agree with you Michael, everyone has been great at getting this out, but it is truly time to turn it all over to the authorities. This person is ill and has gone to great lengths to fabricate a world that has come crashing down. It seems to me that this has become more of a three ring circus side show then the tragic story it really is. Will no one do what is right? To me the sensationalism of this whole day and site is almost as bad as what Emily did. People are dragging innocent people who are not a part of it, like brothers, mothers ill children, grandparents et al, into this in a way that is just not fair. When is the feeding frenzy going to end?

  19. I agree – someone should contact her…that’s why I posted, so person who set up this site can get in touch with her and advise her of what is going on…I think I can remove post if need be?

  20. I have sent her an email on Facebook, and I suggest we stop digging into her pages now (though I am happy that we’ve tracked her down… I just think we should stop now. :-))

  21. I was all okay with letting this play out on it’s own but now that we know she is a medical student, I think we need to push for something serious to be done. That is scary.

  22. I wonder, has anyone contacted caringbridge about all this? The page should be removed entirely if the person running it is posting false info, and using pics that aren’t their own.

    1. I contacted Caringbridge early Monday morning via their feedback page, and they replied today that they are investigating. Maybe they’ll let her keep it, rebranded as a support site for her obvious psychiatric issues…

  23. Michael – if you’re not able to connect, please advise as I do have other information to let parents know. thanks

  24. While I don’t attend the same school as Emily allegedly does, I am a medical student, and at our school you probably would be kicked out for something like this (assuming there was enough proof). I think most schools in the US have similar professionalism standards and codes of conduct. I’m wondering how far this tale has permeated her real life. You have to write essays to get into med school, and many people include stories about their own or their family members’ chronic or serious illnesses as evidence of why they’re interested in medicine. I wonder if “Eli” was included in that? Either way, she clearly needs help.

  25. how do we know this isn’t her trying to gather information to see what everyone knows so she can cover up?? just a thought……

  26. I wanted to add my .02 to the whole fundraising aspect. While I do not know if this is the case in this situation – it is possible that somebody could hold fundraisers with a lot of legit looking Alex’s Lemonade Stand merchandise and then not turn in the money. My family was interested in doing one and we filled out a form online. I received a large box of posters, flyers, banners, signs, lemons that you could write people’s names on, bandanas, bracelets, postcards and even a hardcover book. It also included coupons for purchasing the lemonade at a good discount. All I had done was fill out a form online and “register” my sale. I even remember remarking to my hubby, “what would stop a con person from using all of this stuff and then not turning the money over?” It did have instructions on how to send the money. It was a click of a button for me to go in and either cancel my sale or reschedule it. Nobody followed up with me when I did have to cancel ours. We decided to hold onto the stuff and do it in the following months.

    So it is possible that there was some fundraising done of that nature where the person pocketed the money. I”m less inclined to believe that is the case because it seems that they were mailing bracelets and not asking for money.


    1. Sure, there may be ways of scamming people through ALSF; in fact, any middleman can siphon off any charity’s funds if they choose, so this is not unique to ALSF. But I DID receive confirmation directly from ALSF that *online* donations go *directly* to the foundation and are not ever in the hands of the third party running the online stand. So even in this case, the donations did get to their intended recipient. From what I’ve heard, ALSF is a great charity and it’s unfortunate that they’ve been dragged into this.

  27. Also, I’m SURE that the hoaxer is checking out this website. I’m assuming that you have a stat counter/tracker. Check it out for somebody who is accessing it from the area that you believe ED to be. You may be able to find the IP address that way.

    1. The time on a blog is based on what “time zone” is set up at the beginning of the blog, often (but not always) the location of the blogger. Since this person researched a lot last night, they may be in a place different than the US.


    -notice some simularities on the story..? the woman had trouble conceiving (apparently dana did too when she had “her” twins)
    -husband’s name is marko… one of JS’s set of twins were nicknamed Marko and Tayo.

    obviously there is a lot of inspiration from other people’s lives put into this story.

      1. yeah i just found that out today, you’d think Emily would be a little more careful. i guess 8+ years of getting away with it made her not worry..

  29. I have been wondering about the author of this blog. I hope it is someone with a heart of gold but perhaps it is all just a huge experiment on human response. Additionally, who knows if the person who created this life for 7-9 years didn’t steal “Emily’s” name. Why are we assuming this is a med student? I have friends who have gained so much medical knowledge via the Internet. One does not need medical degree to gather knowledge. Who is Evelyn (listed as one of the tags at the top of this website)?

    This whole story is so sad.

    I feel badly for Esther, assuming she is not involved. She seems like an educated woman, I hope she is not. Who can one trust?

  30. I bet Emily Dirr is fake, and this is actually the old retarded wife’s hoax. Middle aged christian white women shouldn’t be allowed to use the internet.

  31. This is just disgusting! I didn’t follow this story long(in fact I didn’t start following until after the “wreck”) but there were some red flags for me and my gut was screaming that was something was just off. First red flag was that “he had relapsed” for the 4th time. You might survive one relapse and a handful of people survive a 2nd relapse but you would be hard pressed to find someone who survived a 3rd relapse. I have a friend who has a son who was diagnosed with Leukemia as a baby. He has been in remession now for about 4 years and after we looked at his Facebook page we both agreed there was just something fishy about that. There is only so many treatments they can do and with every replapse your chance of survival goes down. Also I couldn’t help but think a pregnant mother of 11 kids, one with cancer dies from injuries from a car accident(where a someone is driving too fast and crosses into the other lane) right after giving birth and there isn’t a single news story? It just doesn’t add up. My guess is although we might not know about it somewhere along the line she has probably gotten money and other items. I know my friend and her son have been showered with gifts and people are always wanting to give her money and she has never asked for a thing(and rarely allows them to send them anything). Most of the time thse people contact her in private and nobody else even knows about it. I know when the whole Bianca Keena thing was busted it took along time for people to really see how much that person or persons had really gotten from innocent people who just wanted to help. I don’t understand how people who did this kind of thing sleep at night! I know I wouldn’t!

  32. Has no one noticed the ghost of Dana Dirr? Her site is incredibly like all the other fake ones… last name Dirr (check), a bunch of kids (check), twins (check)… now check the IP moderator….

  33. I’m saddened (and sickened) that somebody used my photos and the photos of my little cancer survivor (his name is not “Eli” to spout all kinds of erroneous stories over the weekend.

    They used the picture of me with my little boy rolling his eyes up (I’d posted that image to Facebook recently.

    What is WRONG with people?

    If you saw the post… shared the post… or if you know others who may have, please help me set the record straight.

    THAT’s ME, but I’m not dead… My little boy not dead (or currently going through treatment). He’s healthy and happy. He was diagnosed with germ-cell tumor at the age of 18 months. He went through treatment-after-treatment, and surgery-after-surgery. They cut out most of his liver. They removed what was left of the baseball-size tumor. He went through more than you will ever want to imagine. And, ultimately, they gave him the “chance” to go through 2 bone marrow transplants. He went through hell… and he went into remission nearly 3 years ago.

    But, if he went through hell, I want it to mean something. He stands as an example for other kids and families that there is another side of the story. There’s a time when some of the kids walk away, and have a shot of a “normal” life… This “shot” is not something I can ever take for granted (I don’t know how long it will last), and I try to give as much back to other kids and families as I can.

    When people use the stories of REAL kids as part of these scams, it makes it harder for all of us to talk about, or offer support, or raise money for our REAL kids–who have cancer and need our support.

    I’ve never been afraid to tell my son’s story. I’ve told anyone who would listen, and even those who turn away. I’m not ashamed of my little boy; I’m so proud of what a strong little man he’s become (and ALWAYS has been).

    But, now, I understand why there are those who keep the stories (and the images) of their kids private and let their stories remain unsaid. When someone can tear at the very core of what he has gone through–turn it into something so wrong… play on emotions… Nobody is sure what is real. What’s made-up? What’s partial?

    Well, I’m upset… but it also makes me all the more determined. Our kids still need us to tell their story–now, more than ever! And, do you know what’s REAL? CANCER. And, the fact that kids die every day; and the fact that programs in hospitals are being cut (for budgetary reasons); and the pain that you can see in the eyes of those kids!

    Ironically, while this person was spreading all their lies, my son and I were hanging out with the most amazing group of people, who were all raising money to give another kid their wish (through Make-a-Wish New Mexico). It’s my wish that this horrible episode will be turned into something positive. (And, Make-a-Wish of New Mexico had to cut 10 wishes from their budget this year–THAT is REAL too. So, all those kids are waiting…)

    So, if you REALLY care about that little boy you saw in those pics, please give back to another kid just like him. And, instead of worrying about whether the online charity is legit and whether the kid is REAL, why don’t you go down to your local (or nearest) hospital and meet a REAL kid. There are lots of them out there, and they all need something. While you’re at it, why don’t you meet the family too. As a parent, I can tell you that the parents can usually use a nice cup of good coffee (just a cup of coffee when I’d not slept in days would have been heaven). And, sometimes all the kids want is to have someone who will look at them and not judge them for the absence of hair and/or the ashen-white skin. They want to laugh and play games and do all the other things REAL kids want to do.

    Be there. Grant a wish. Let a REAL kid know how much you care in the REAL world!

    1. Esther, I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through, but I’m beyond happy that your little guy is doing great! Love what you wrote here. I’m going to make it its own post later on today.

    2. Esther, I am so happy to know the mother and the little boy behind those pictures. I am thrilled to hear that he is doing great. I am so sorry that you guys have had to go through this. I’ve been attached to this for 7 years and it makes me sick. I thought I had a couple of friends but I was extremely wrong. It seems a lot of people were played. I wish you and your family the best of health.

    3. Esther, just to clarify, and just so you know all the facts: your images were used for more than just yesterday. These “Dana” and “JS” identities were online for several years (7 or more) and the photos were posted at various times over those years. I don’t think it’s a huge deal — it only really went viral yesterday, prior to that it was a much smaller audience — but I thought you should know. And I’m very happy to hear that little E is doing well.

      1. Yes, I read through all the posts here, as well as posts on other blogs and sites. I realize that she’s been doing this a while, and I found the other photos (of my son, as well as the children of others), which now appear to be taken down or hidden.

        My son was diagnosed in September 2007, so was he part of an unfolding story?

        Several years ago, I was once contacted by a woman who said she wanted me to describe in detail what it was like to be in the hospital (she said she was writing a book for Young Adults). I never responded (my son was in-and out of the hospital, and there was little enough time for sleep, much less anything else). But, now, I wonder…

        I have everything set for “friends”-only for viewing… Apparently, I can’t trust my “friends.”

        – Esther

    4. love what you said about meeting the “REAL” kids and a grandfather to a little boy that faught cancer i know first hand what it meant to my daughter and son-in-law to have someone bring them coffee or a meal while stuck in a room and not able to leave their baby alone even for a minute. more people should help in this way. i know we will be our baby past away from cancer April 25th 2012. we have great plans to give to the kids and families when they need it most, after hearing your child has cancer..

      1. Michael, so sorry about your grandson. I would love it if good came out of this whole thing and I could link to various organizations that actually DO need support, along with volunteer matches or something to get these kids real help

  34. Oh, and that picture she’s using on her facebook page STILL–that’s my son too! I’ve asked Facebook to take it down, but they haven’t yet.

    That’s him undergoing his mini-bone-marrow transplant (before he went to the Denver Children’s Hospital). We were trying to get his cancer under control.

    I hope that at least Facebook takes that photo down…


    1. I agree this is more then a few white lies this is identity theft along with other more serious things.

  35. Esther does realize that this was perpetuated much longer than this weekend, right? Her comment seems to imply that I was this weekend only.

  36. Esther has a good point. Maybe the energy everyone is spending on being angry could be spent on a child in the real world. Sure, raising money and “awareness” with tweets/FB reposts are a good FIRST step, but getting out and doing something is important.

  37. i received bracelets with yellow ribbons attached to them. no one ever asked for money, but yes Dana Dirr friended me and she only had like 6 friends on facebook at that time. I kept up with the Warrior Eli blog and i won’t lie, on mother’s day i was sad because of the death of this “amazing” mom…. now I just laugh because i was such a dum butt for falling in this game/hoax.

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