It was the generosity of a complete stranger that gave the Doty family hope that their son's life could be saved by expensive cancer treatments. But the promise of big bucks for that treatment turned out to be hoax and possibly cost a young man his life.
In December, 20-year-old Thomas Doty lost his battle with a rare form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma.
Treatment options were running out last summer when the Doty family found a California hospital that could help treat Thomas. But it was expensive and it wasn't covered by insurance.
That's when a famous family friend stepped in to help. Jonathan Hillstrand, star of the television show "the Deadliest Catch," asked his fans to help the Doty family.
Shortly after that message, it seemed a miracle had happened. A stranger emailed Thomas' mother, promising a check for $250,000.
But after eight weeks of back and forth, stories and reassurances, the money never came. It was time Thomas could have been receiving life-saving treatment. Instead, he was slowly slipping away.
Tiffany Doty said the mysterious woman went to great lengths to dupe the family, even sending false bank statements.
"So it wasn't that I was so naive, I was desperate," Tiffany Doty said.
Thomas did make it to California, but doctors say it wasn't soon enough.
After learning of the Doty family's heartbreaking story, Amber Mcintosh decided she wanted to help find out who was responsible for the hoax. Mcintosh had never met the Doty family, but she said the story touched her and she wanted to solve the mystery.
"I've always been good digging up random information online," she said.
Mcintosh, a mother from Florida, started a Facebook page and did some serious online detective work to get to the bottom of the story.
And now she thinks she has finally found the guilty party in New York.
The problem is, because the hoaxer didn't benefit financially, New York police say there's nothing they can do.
The Doty family plans to keep fighting until they get justice. They plan to lobby state lawmakers to put laws in place that would protect other from similar tragedies.