MAHONING COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – The day of their six-year-old daughter’s funeral marked the beginning of another nightmare for a Mahoning County family who is the target of online harassment from an anti-vaccine conspiracy community.
Anastasia Weaver, lovingly called Anna, died suddenly in January. Her parents Andrew Weaver and Jessica Day-Weaver said they have not been able to peacefully mourn the unimaginable loss of their child.
They were horrified to get bombarded with messages and alerts across different social media platforms blaming them for Anna’s death.
“Some of the messages were saying, ‘you’re a murderer,'” said Day-Weaver. “‘I hope you can’t live with yourself for the rest of your life.’ ‘You deserve to be in the electric chair.’ ‘How could you do this to your daughter?'”
Anna’s photo was reposted to an anti-COVID vaccine website and several social media accounts with incorrect stories about her death.
“Somebody made a Twitter. It was shared over 1,000 times in one day,” said Day-Weaver. “Just the fact that my baby’s picture is tied to that and there’s no way for me to take that back. There’s no way for me to make them take all of that down.”
Day-Weaver said Anna and her twin sister were born premature at 28 weeks. Anna weighed just two pounds and remained in the NICU for six months. She battled chronic conditions, including epilepsy. Anna, who was vaccinated, tested positive for COVID last year.
“I’ve sat in the hospital for hours and hours,” said Day Weaver. “I’ve monitored her. I’m a nurse. The first time I’ve done CPR was on my own child.”
Despite health challenges, Anna’s mother said she remained a loving, friendly and happy little girl.
Weaver said a police report was filed because both he and his wife are fearful the online harassment could escalate to in-person threats. They are awaiting the result of an autopsy to determine Anna’s official cause of death.
Anna’s father said he wants to know why his family’s tragic experience was selected as the target of an aggressive anti-vaccine conspiracy theory and what anyone stands to gain from their suffering.
“I hope they never have to bury a child because you shouldn’t and until you have known that pain, they would never understand,” said Day-Weaver.