CLEVELAND -- Doreen Thibodeau thinks of her son, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Thibodeau, every time she passes a sign paying tribute to Chris on Route 322 near her home in Chesterland, and every day she goes to work at Case Western Reserve University, where Chris attended college and where his funeral was held.
The 28-year-old was killed in May 2011, when the Apache helicopter he was piloting crashed in Afghanistan.
Thibodeau’s family created a Facebook page to honor their fallen hero and was disturbed to learn that someone has been using photos of Chris to create fake profiles on Facebook and a dating website.
Doreen Thibodeau told Fox 8 that she felt "devastation that somebody would do that to anyone, anyone at all, but here was a soldier that, you know, had given up his life for his country.”
The family was outraged and notified the various websites that Chris Thibodeau's image was being misused. They say Facebook acted quickly and removed the page, but they say getting the dating site to cooperate proved to be much more difficult.
Thibodeau’s mother believes the person who adopted his identity has a profit motive.
"I don't like anybody using his name as a scam, why would you want to use his name and his picture, why else, other than to scam people, for whatever that reason is, I can't imagine any other reason," she said.
When Thibodeau's sister contacted her local police department in Texas, she was told there was no evidence that a crime was committed, but the family says the misuse of the photos is a crime against them and their loved one.
"I think it would be a crime if you take anyone's, as a mother, I know that pain of losing my child”, she said. “I also know the pain of losing a war hero, the pain is no different. Stealing anyone's identity, anyone's photograph should not be allowed."