When Kathryn M. McMahon, 24, announced on her Facebook page in November that she had "lost her twins, and the family was grieving," friends reached out to comfort her with meals and money.
But, it turned out, she was never pregnant, according to a criminal complaint filed March 2 in Anchorage District Court.
McMahon has been charged with scheme to defraud, a felony, and theft in the second degree. Anchorage police allege that she took more than $1,700 from at least six people who believed that McMahon's babies died, court documents say.
Anchorage police first got a tip about McMahon in early December. A victim told police McMahon was "faking stillborn births of her own babies to collect money, food, and emotional support/attention," court documents say.
McMahon is well known in the birthing and doula community, victims told police. A doula is a birth assistant.
After she posted about her late-term pregnancy loss on Facebook on Nov. 9, a "meal train," where communities organize free meals for people in need, was set up, investigators say. People also gave about $420 to the meal train in monetary donations.
At least five women gave McMahon groceries and money, police say. One woman donated $150 in groceries and a $75 check that McMahon cashed. Another woman gave $40 in groceries, $40, and 40 pounds of Alaska silver salmon.
Another woman was hired to be McMahon's doula and birthing coach, but McMahon never paid her the $700 fee.
"According to the victims, their suspicions started to raise (when) McMahon started to tell people she was pregnant (again), and she had conceived while being pregnant with the twins," court documents say.
On McMahon's Facebook page, where she went by the name Kate Martin, and which has since been removed from public view, McMahon posted a photo in January saying she was "adding a new pea to our pod" in the summer of 2018. Some people offered their congratulations and prayers in the comments.
According to court documents, a police investigator went over McMahon's social media, bank reports and medical records, which "indicated she had never been pregnant with twins."
When confronted by police, McMahon admitted that "the twins were not real," court documents say. She had downloaded pictures of twins off the internet and posted them on her Facebook page, pretending they were hers.
McMahon allegedly told police that nobody, including her husband, knew she had lied about the pregnancy. She had gotten money from several people for losing the twins, and several meals, but that most of the food was "bad" anyway, she told police.
"When asked of why she lied about her pregnancy, McMahon stated she did not know," the investigator wrote.
Public records list McMahon as the owner of Your Voice Doula Services in Anchorage. A woman who answered a number listed for the doula service on Thursday asked that she not be contacted again.
On Wednesday, MJ Thim, a police spokesman, said the amount of the alleged theft is still part of the investigation.
"That's why we're asking for more victims to come forward, because we just don't know how much money she stole from people," Thim said.
The majority of McMahon's victims were mothers, Thim said.
McMahon's first court appearance is scheduled for March 16.