Michael O'Connell, from Yonkers, New York is divorcing his wife because she lied about having leukemia. He believes that she used her lies to get him to marry her and to get sympathetic strangers to pay for her wedding dress and honeymoon.
O'Connell, a 23-year-old construction worker, said that his, now estranged, wife's story was all lies. She conned herself into his heart and tens of thousands of dollars of gifts when her story appeared in a local newspaper he said.
"I'm disgusted, I'm enraged. It was all lies," he told New York Daily News.
"I thought she was dying and my goal was to give her everything she wanted before she did…Now, I want to see the truth come out. If that means her going to jail, then let her pay for what she did."
Jessica Vega said that she has received a letter which said she was dying from leukemia. Her, soon to be, ex-husband explained that she concocted the story about having life threatening leukemia to con loved ones and strangers.
Vega has said that O'Connell hit her and he admitted "slapping the fire" out of his wife during one of their last fights.
O'Connell said she showed him a letter from a Westchester County cancer specialist confirming Vega's terminal diagnosis.
A journalist from Times Herald-Record of upstate Middletown said O'Connell eventually called the clinic and was told that Vega was "never a patient".
However, Vega had insisted to the Times Herald that she had received the letter. She then stood the journalist up when she agreed to undergo blood tests at her new doctor's office in the Bronx.
The couple has a one-year-old child together. Chris O'Connell, Michael's father said "There's a possibility he'll [Michael] get custody at this point. He would prefer custody."
Vega's mother, Diana, will not believe that her daughter is capable of such lies. She said "Jessie would never do something so manipulative."
Vega's friends no longer believe her lies and feel enraged. A friend in Yonkers, who refuses to be identified said "We all felt betrayed…We thought she was dying. It was awful. For her to lie to us like this for so long is unbelievable…She still refuses to tell the truth."
Locals, friends and strangers paid out for Vega's wedding gown, honeymoon in Aruba, a big discount on the wedding hall and even the bar tab of $4,000. The caring community even paid for the pair to have pre-wedding makeovers and forked out for Vega's seven bridesmaids.
Rachel Taylor, a local hairdresser said "I don't know what to believe…If she's not sick and dying, then I'm happy for her. But at the same time, maybe she needs some help instead of free wedding gowns and honeymoons."
A jeweler in Newburgh gave the couple matching 14-karat white gold wedding bands. She said that she's baffled by the story. "It's sad, it's just sad…We don't feel duped, or betrayed, we just feel sad," said Kim Kavanagh one of the owners of Kavanagh's Jewelers.