A Las Vegas “mother” who claimed she was facing eviction — prompting donors to pony up more than $200,000 — is just the babysitter of the three kids she identified as her children in a CNN report.
Dasha Kelly, 32, ended up copping to CNN on Monday that she’s not the biological mother of the girls, ages 5, 6 and 8, who were featured alongside her in a segment last week on the federal eviction moratorium that had ended days earlier.
CNN said Kelly’s story “generated a lot of interest” after its initial report, which featured video footage of her and the girls inside her home after the network found her online fundraiser seeking $1,900 to pay back rent.
“My name is Kelly and I have 3 daughters in Nevada,” her plea read. “We were maintaining just before this pandemic hit. Now we are suffering … Please help with anything you can.”
The three young girls referred to Kelly as their mom during CNN’s visit, but another woman, Shadia Halo, later identified herself as their biological mother, reporter Nick Watt said.
“And yes, Shadia Halo is their mother,” Watt said. “We have seen the birth certificates. And now we know that Dasha Kelly is dating the girls’ father.”
Kelly spends a “significant” amount of time caring for the three girls at her apartment, where Halo said she had been dropped them off for a week, CNN reported.
Kelly said she described herself as the girls’ mother because she considered herself to be a maternal figure to them. Halo was “understandably upset” by that claim, according to CNN’s report.
An emotional Kelly appeared on CNN a second time last week alongside Missouri Rep. Cori Bush after the Biden administration announced a new 60-day eviction moratorium in counties where the transmission of COVID-19 is either substantial or high.
“I’m just so fortunate right now, this is beyond me,” Kelly told Bush. “When I put that up, I never thought that anybody would have reached out, especially CNN, and to hear that a congressperson – my story reached you – this is just amazing.”
Bush told Kelly that she and her family deserved to have lawmakers working for them.
“And so this is the least that we can do for you – is to step up and make sure that you get to stay in the safety and the comfort of your home while we work on other things to help make sure that your life and the lives of your children are better,” the Missouri Democrat told Kelly. “This is the least we can do for you.”
Kelly’s fundraiser had garnered more than $212,000 as of Tuesday. Her GoFundMe page has now clarified that the three girls recognize her as a “mother figure” and that the former casino card dealer loves them unconditionally.
A rep for GoFundMe told the network that the funds raised by Kelly will remain on hold until her information is verified and that no amount had been withdrawn.
Anyone who donated to Kelly can request a refund through Aug. 23, the spokeswoman said.
The girls’ father is Kelly’s boyfriend, whom she does not live with, the website said.
“I take care of these girls in my home for periods of time, and have for the last couple years,” Kelly wrote. “I’ve loved these girls unconditionally, and have been out of the kindness of my heart. I treat them as my daughters, and care for them in this way.”
The girls will be returning to Halo’s home for the start of the school year, CNN reported.