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Forever Young

Charity Johnson, a 34-year-old woman from Texas, didn’t want to steal money or hurt anyone. So why did she trick people all over the country into believing she was still in high school?

Charity Johnson enrolled in 10th grade at New Life Christian School in Longview, Texas, a few weeks before her 34th birthday.

Back then, in October 2013, Charity said her name was "Charite Stevens" and that she was born in 1997 instead of 1979, making her nearly 16, just old enough to score an after-school job at McDonald’s. Her “guardian,” a young woman Charity said was her sister, helped Charity fill out paperwork at the tiny private school, run out of a church in a quiet neighborhood by pastor Stuart Newlin.

Newlin didn’t ask to see Charity’s birth certificate. Why would he? He had known most of his 27 students since they were in diapers; one of them had met Charity at work and told her about the school. Charity had no transcripts because she had been homeschooled by a foster family, she said. Before that, she was abandoned by her drug-addict mother and incarcerated father. She often told people that both her biological and foster families had abused her. No one gave her tragic story a second thought: It was all too familiar in East Texas, where poverty rates are above average and the rising number of mistreated foster children recently prompted a state legislative committee meeting.

Besides, Charity looked like a teenager. She had plump, baby-smooth cheeks and big bright eyes and wore bows in her hair. She was a big girl — just 5 feet tall and around 300 pounds — but she dressed young for her age and favored Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse accessories.

She acted exactly like a mercurial, hormone-addled teenager too. Sometimes Charity could get surly and sulk for hours if you asked her too many questions or to do something she didn’t feel like doing. But in class, Charity was a meticulous student who shushed her friends when they giggled too loud during algebra lessons. She got A's on English quizzes about irony and wrote heartfelt essays about striving to be better than her biological mother. She often signed her name “Charite Love," dotting the “i” with a star.

Longview, population 81,000, is a charmless city with nothing to do but hang out at churches and chain restaurants. But Charity seemed content. After school, she worked and spent time with her classmates and “mom,” Tamica Lincoln, a 30-year-old McDonald’s breakfast manager whom Charity moved in with in the spring. She posted Instagram photos of friendship bracelets, cookies “split with friends,” and smiling teenage boys on a spring break trip to a nearby Christian university. She loved making her own Instagram “art”: selfies juxtaposed with sayings like “Baby I’m a star” and “Honeybee, love me.” Earlier this year, she posted a photo that read “My mommy was my best friend…”

“Love ur mom with your all cuz n a split second u cld lose her..” she wrote below the picture.

Charity has loved and lost so many “moms” that it’s hard to keep track. Some of them reached out to Tamica when Charity’s mugshot made international headlines in May. That’s when Charity was arrested for intentionally giving false information to a police officer who received a tip that she was much older than her hair bows implied. Soon, outlets from Good Morning America to the Daily Mail were calling Charity’s devastated schoolmates (they still miss her, according to a recent ABC News follow-up) and bewildered 23-year-old boyfriend (he said he thought she was 18).

For years, Charity had targeted devout, maternal types with regrets and a weakness for lost, young souls. Women all over Texas, as well as North Carolina, New Jersey, and Maryland, said they had combed Charity’s hair, helped her with her homework, and given her a bed to sleep in. Up until her arrest, Charity kept in close contact with her collection of online “mothers,” from a housekeeper in Nevada to a pastor in Ohio, whom she found through Facebook searches (“pastor” + “teen girls” + “hope”).

Most of them cut ties with Charity after she was exposed as a 34-year-old living what Time calledNever Been Kissed IRL.” (Time misreported her as being 31 at the time.) But Charity made an impact in Longview, where many of the friends, mentors, and makeshift family members she met are still mourning her loss. They haven’t seen or talked to Charity since she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor (for failing to identify herself to a police officer) after 29 days in jail and left town, but they don’t feel betrayed. Instead, they asked me for her phone number in hopes they could convince her to come back. They’re all deeply religious Christians who grew up in broken homes or even spent time on the streets before they were “saved.” They wanted, and still want, to help Charity follow in their footsteps and succeed as an adult.

As a teenager, Charity had to abide by a curfew and ask permission to go to the store or shave her legs. The people who knew her best — or thought they knew her best — haven’t stopped wondering: Who would want to be 15 forever?

“Charity wanted to be wanted; she wanted someone to love her unconditionally, like a mother should love her child,” explained Osarieme Obaseki, the internet “mom” who finally exposed Charity’s deception. “She’s not a con artist for money. She’s a con artist for love.”

On Nov. 20, 1979, Charity Ann Johnson was born in Travis County, Texas, to Larry Johnson and Shirley Anne Burton. She suffered from drug-withdrawal symptoms. Shirley, a tall, thin woman with scars on her face from a car accident, admitted to taking illegal drugs immediately before giving birth.

Throughout the 1980s, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) investigated multiple allegations that Shirley emotionally and physically abused Charity. Once, she whipped 5-year-old Charity on her neck, chest, and back with a belt; another time, she told Charity that Charity’s aunt had murdered her family and committed suicide — a lie — to scare her. In 1985, Shirley was briefly committed to a hospital and diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but she remained Charity’s primary caretaker, even after attacking a caseworker who knocked on her door, until Shirley left for good in 1994.

That August, DFPS received a tip that 14-year-old Charity was living at The Settlement Home, a group foster house and residential treatment center in Austin. She was slated to be released later that month, due to a lack of state funding. Relatives told DFPS Charity's father was in jail for murder and that her mother was last seen in New York City.

“I don’t know where she is,” Charity told DFPS. “She may even be dead.” According to Charity’s case file, Shirley never contacted her daughter again. Records show that she died homeless in Salinas, California, in 2002.

Years later, Charity told friends that the happiest times of her childhood were spent with her grandmother, who died the same month Shirley disappeared. Charity’s older sister died of leukemia a few months after that. No other relative was willing to take Charity in, so she stayed at The Settlement Home despite funding concerns. Somehow, she managed to keep up her grades in middle school while also confronting her “abandonment issues” in group and independent therapy.

“Charity has had a difficult time expressing her feelings, but has recently begun to verbalize and explore her feelings,” a caseworker wrote in September 1994.

The following August, Charity moved in with a Settlement Home volunteer who was dedicated to meeting all of Charity’s “medical, emotional, physical, and therapeutic needs,” according to a report. But it didn’t work out. By Thanksgiving Day, Charity was back at The Settlement Home, due to “behavior difficulties that the foster parent was unable to manage.”

The next year, another relative surfaced: Melissa, an older sister who was married with two young children and wanted Charity to come live with her. (Her name and her husband’s name have been changed.) Research shows that foster children who are placed with relatives transition to adulthood more smoothly, and some state laws have even codified the preference for relative placement. But caseworkers were doubtful that Melissa, who was only seven years older than Charity, would continue Charity’s therapy and provide her with the structure and discipline she needed. There were also some issues with Barry, Melissa’s husband: Charity told friends he sexually abused her, but later said it was a misunderstanding. DPFS investigated and concluded that while Charity had not been abused, Barry should never be left alone with her “for everyone’s protection.” Charity moved in with the family in 1997.

By then, Charity was almost 18 and had “improved a great deal,” according to her caseworker. She was getting good grades, babysitting for pocket money, and taking after-school dance classes. She was on antidepressants, and her “behavior issues” had subsided. She had completed The Settlement Home’s “Preparation for Independent Living” classes and passed a self-sufficiency assessment test.

That year, the court closed Charity’s case, effectively declaring her a success against the odds. The last report in her file declared that it was in Charity’s “best interest” to transition to independent living upon her graduation from Lanier High School in 1998.

Her home life wasn't as pleasant as her case file implied, according to Barry, who emphatically denied the abuse allegations and said Charity stole from Melissa, skipped school, and refused to act her age.

"She didn't progress like other kids were progressing," Barry said. "There was something she was trying to hold onto in terms of her youth. I don't know if it was because she never had a relationship with her biological mother, or what. But she wanted to stay a little girl."

Charity was too much for the young couple to handle, so Barry and Melissa dropped her off at a "home for troubled teenagers" — Barry can't remember the name — after a year and a half, when she was about 18 or 19.

"We had barely stopped being teenagers, and here we were trying to raise a teenager who should have been able to start taking care of herself," he said. "It wasn't a financial decision. We just wanted to help her flourish."

After that, he says, she ran away.

Although Charity's caseworker expected Charity to graduate in 1998, she is just a junior in the 1998 Lanier High School yearbook. She looks happy in her yearbook photo, wearing hoop earrings and a half-ponytail, smiling a closed-mouth smile as she poses with the student advisory council and other community service groups.

"I like to help people inside and outside of school, such as Plant Day when we planted trees in the park and talking to certain girls about their problems," reads a quote from Charity in the yearbook.

Lanier couldn't confirm whether a student named Charity, or Charite, Johnson ever graduated. But five years later, in 2003, she did graduate from Garza Independent High School, an alternative institution for students who don’t function well in traditional schools, just eight miles across town. She was 23. By then, Charity was living with a new family, whose surname she would later adopt: Stevens. Barry and Melissa didn't know the family, but heard through friends that Charity had claimed to be an orphan.

"We heard that she told people she had been through hell and back," he said. "But Charity has always had family."

At first, Charity tweaked her age just a bit: When she was arrested for shoplifting at J.C. Penney the same year, police cited her as “Charity Annie Johnson,” born in 1982. But as the years went by, Charity grew younger and younger.

Approximately 1,300 Texans age out of the 17,000-child foster system each year, according to DFPS spokesperson Julie Moody. Results from a comprehensive 2010 study on the transition from foster care to adulthood are bleak: By age 23 or 24, fewer than half were employed, nearly one-fourth had no high school diploma, and only 6% had a two- or four-year degree.

“Just because someone turns 18 doesn’t mean they’re ready to face the world by themselves,” Moody said.

Researchers started seriously tracking the outcomes of youth who age out of care near the end of the 20th century, and their results spurred legislation. The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 increased funding and services for youth aging out of foster care and permitted states to provide Medicaid coverage to young adults up to the age of 21. In 2008, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act gave states more funding and guidance to extend foster care up to age 21.

But in 1997, Texas believed 18-year-old Charity was not only ready to make the transition from foster care to independent living immediately after she graduated, but that the plan was in her “best interest.”

Apparently, Charity disagreed.

Members of the Stevens family did not respond to repeated requests for comment, so it’s unclear how Charity ended up living with Karen and Dave Stevens or why she shaved a few years off her age. (The Stevenses' first names have been changed.) But former friends, neighbors, and fellow churchgoers said the Stevens family knew Charity was older than 18 — and they were willing to play along.

Why? A close friend of the Stevenses wrote on Facebook that Karen raised Charity “as her own despite people telling her she was a grown woman” out of kindness. But others remember the situation as being much more sinister.

Tamara Tolbert, now 24, met Charity at the church where Karen pastored in the mid-2000s. She often spent the night at the Stevenses’ and once went on vacation with them to visit family in Louisiana. Tamara thought Charity was a few years older than she was, and remembers finding it odd that Charity had to ask her mom for permission to go to the store. More troubling, she said, was that Karen and Dave regularly abused Charity, both in public and at home.

“They yelled and screamed and slapped her, and always treated her like a stupid little kid,” Tamara said. “Maybe they brainwashed her. When I saw her in the news, I was like, does she even know who she is? Does she know how old she is?”

Charity told Tamara that Dave beat her and Karen when he was drunk. Sometimes, Charity said, he even raped her. She told the same version of these allegations, more or less, to dozens of teachers, friends, makeshift family members, and people she met on the internet in the years that followed.

In 2008, Charity frantically called 911 to report that Dave was hitting Karen multiple times in the face. “He just started going off on my mom,” she said, breathing hard and fast. “He was punching her in the face and stuff. He made us get out.”

Karen insisted that Dave didn’t hit her, and the case was eventually dismissed, despite the officer’s concerns, who noted in his report that Dave had been convicted of homicide and accused of domestic violence in the past.

Charity is tagged in a 2009 photo on Karen’s Facebook, along with Karen, Dave, and one of their sons. She’s wearing a pink skirt suit and holding a flower in her hand; they appear to be at a funeral. “The Stevens family,” Karen wrote underneath.

Around that time, Charity started reaching out to older women on Facebook, claiming to be a scared, abused teenager who needed help getting out of a bad situation. She’d start by saying their empowering status updates gave her hope that life was worth living. She’d tell them the man she called her father abused her, but she’d also ask them more innocuous questions about school and boys. It wouldn’t take long before she’d start calling them “mom” and ask if she could come visit, or even move in.

You want your mom there when theres a boy that likes u and u dont know how to talk to them u want your mom there when u get scared or when u get scared cause u dont know if that person in your family will get drunk again and come after u when your friends that are sopose to be your friends turn their backs on u and then they talk about you,” she wrote to Lynn Brown, an announcer for a Christian radio station in Fort Lauderdale in May 2010.

The stories Charity told about her abuse weren’t necessarily lies. But her concerned listeners, many of whom kept in touch with Charity for years, thought she was 14 or 15 or 16. In reality, Charity was 30.

In 2011, Charity kept bugging Lynn to let her come visit. Lynn told Charity she couldn’t, but gave her an idea.

you need to get somewhere its safe and where u are wanted,” Lynn wrote.

tru jus dnt no where,” Charity replied.

Lynn told her to check shelters that accepted teens.

does tat mean they will put me n the system?” Charity asked. Lynn told her not necessarily. Soon, Charity would take the risk.

From 2009 on, "teenage" Charity — age 14 to 16, tops — was spotted all over the East Coast.

When Daphne Fortune, the director of a religious youth advocacy group in Maryland, took Charity into her home in 2011, she was posing as a homeless 15-year-old who had been prostituted by her stepfather and abandoned by her foster mother.

“She pretended she did not know how to write cursive which made me more suspicious,” Daphne wrote to Tamica after Charity went to jail. “I started asking her for her social security number, and additional information and she swore she did not have no ID. One day I found some mail and a form she had to fill out from Kaplan University and I discovered she had beautiful cursive handwriting and she was working on her associates’ degree.”

Daphne bought her a bus ticket and sent her back to Texas. Charity tried her luck in Marshall, a town with fewer than 25,000 residents. That’s where she won over Pastor Robert Brown and his wife, Rosalind. This time, she was more careful.

“She said she missed out on a childhood since she was raised on the streets, went from house to house, and experienced abuse,” Pastor Brown said. “She knew exactly what to tell us.”

Still, in retrospect, there were warning signs. Charity never wanted to wear her hair in grown-up styles, insisting on bows and high ponytails. It unnerved Rosalind when Charity swapped personalities; sometimes she would talk in a baby voice, then switch to sassy teen slang. Once, when the women played cards after church, Charity shocked them by joining in and talking smack like a seasoned adult.

But it wasn’t until a woman in Pastor Brown’s congregation said she dreamed Charity was “a lady” that they decided to investigate by messaging a few of her Facebook friends. Brown says he connected with Karen, who shared details from Charity’s past, including her high school graduation date and the color of her prom dress. When they confronted Charity, she denied it all.

“It was the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life,” said Brown, who is only three years older than Charity. “If she apologized and told the truth, she could have kept living in my house. But if a person lies, I don’t know what they’re capable of.”

“She wouldn’t even have to say I’m sorry,” added Rosalind. She was hurt when Charity told her she pretended to be a teen because she “just wanted to belong.” Rosalind didn’t understand. “She already belonged to us.”

After Marshall, Charity went to Kilgore, another small East Texas town where she convinced a few mothers to homeschool her and bonded with teenagers at a Christian sleepaway camp. When one family became suspicious, she fled to nearby Longview, where she arrived at House of Hope in summer 2012.

The crowded but homey shelter in a repurposed church off Highway 80 allowed Charity to grow into the age-appropriately irreverent teenager she never got to be. Her caretakers were used to harboring women who had murky pasts and lacked proper identification. They worried that too many probing questions would push Charity back out into the streets.

“I know what it’s like to be out of touch with reality,” said Sister Helen Johnson, House of Hope’s director. “We create new worlds, because this one is so harsh and so hard that, sometimes, we can’t live there.”

Charity was rebellious, Sister Helen said; she never did her chores, often refused to get out of bed, and only ate fast food. But the workers adored her regardless. On her birthday, they gave her Mickey Mouse pajamas. When she was invited to a prom through her homeschool course, they bought her a new dress at Ross. At night, she and the other teenagers would make up dances and sing into broomstick microphones until Sister Helen rounded them up into bed. Charity had a top bunk. Her whispered giggles reverberated into the night.

“People have created her into this monster,” said Lauren, a House of Hope staffer and former resident. “But she’s not a monster. What did she do? Who did she hurt? I still trust her. She was a good kid. I mean, a good person.”

At House of Hope, Charity didn’t need to be an extra-responsible kid or answer too many questions to earn the unconditional love she longed for. She stayed there for about a year. In January 2013, she told Sister Helen she had to go to the funeral of the stepfather who had raised and abused her. Records show Dave Stevens died that month.

The next fall, Charity briefly moved in with a young woman she met at House of Hope — the one who would act as her “sister” when she enrolled in school — but that didn’t work out. So she fixated on Tamica, whom she met at work.

Tamica had been reluctant to make room for Charity in her small apartment and hectic schedule. She works a second job at a group home for senior citizens and often takes care of her 3-year-old godson; his toys are scattered around her otherwise tidy place. She’s single but “ready for love,” as a recent Facebook status proclaimed; two of her tattoos memorialize ex-boyfriends who broke her heart.

But Charity tearfully told Tamica that she had nowhere else to go. So Tamica took her in. She did Charity’s hair, bought her clothes for school, and tried her best to discipline her when she got a bad grade or started seeing her older boyfriend. Tamica didn’t ask for anything in return. She knew what it was like to grow up in an unstable home.

For the first time in her life, it seemed like Charity had the chance at building a stable life in a secure community in Longview. She had a loving “mother,” classmates who adored her, school, a job. And if something went wrong — well, she always had internet moms on backup. Or so she thought.

“She was always scheming, always trying to open up new doors in case the one she was behind happened to close,” said Ray Ward, the sprightly 66-year-old owner of a transportation company who Charity called her “Pawpaw” after he started driving her to work.

“She was good at plotting and planning,” he said. “She tried to read you. You’re not even thinking about her reading you like that, not a 14- or 15-year-old. She was doing what a grown woman would do. But we didn’t take her to be no grown woman.”

In May, Charity asked Tamica if she could take the train to nearby Dallas to visit Osarieme Obaseki, a 40-year-old woman who runs a religious nonprofit for girls, over Mother’s Day weekend. She said she had found Osarieme by searching for female pastors on Facebook, and that she was inspired by the encouraging status updates Osarieme posts every few hours on her public page. (Example: “The enemy can not stop you, when God has already declared you the Winner.”) It wasn’t long before Charity, who claimed she was only 14, opened up to Osarieme about her painful past.

“when I ran across ur page it just felt like God n it felt like my prayers were answered,” Charity wrote.

Osarieme felt exactly the same way. “Our connection was all-consuming,” she said. “It took over my everyday life.” Osarieme had also been abused and neglected as a child, and she knew what it was like to long for a second or third chance at life. In hopes of metamorphosis, Osarieme has changed her name, converted to Evangelicalism, and tried her hand at managing coin-operated laundromats and beauty supply companies. She’s constantly on the road, never setting down roots in one city for long, and calls various young people her “kids” but rarely sees her three biological children, who grew up long ago. The single photo on her Google+ page, taken in 2013, shows her strapped to a hospital monitor before undergoing tubal ligation reversal, a fertility restoration process.

Tears streamed down Osarieme's cheeks the first time she talked to Charity on the phone. The two would talk all night, until they went to sleep, and then call or message each other as soon as they woke up the next morning. If Osarieme didn’t respond immediately, Charity got upset.

it's hard for me because I don't trust ppl n let ppl n my space n then I felt like I could let u in,” she wrote one night after Osarieme didn’t call her back. “I said u didn't care n y did I allow myself to talk to u I tossed n.turned all night n couldn't sleep n I said I wouldn't call or text u anymore...then today u text me n I felt different”

Osarieme had been longing for another baby. Maybe, she thought, God had sent her Charity. She told Charity she would consider adopting her.

Charity wore a pink striped shirt and a pink bow in her hair when she got off the train in Dallas. She shyly handed Osarieme a Mother’s Day card made out of red construction paper and cut-out hearts and flowers, carefully colored inside the lines. She asked Osarieme — whom, by then, she called “Mom” — to give her a hug.

But they clashed as the trip continued. Charity asked to see Osarieme’s ID, which hurt Osarieme’s feelings. When Osarieme questioned Charity about her past in return, Charity became hostile and refused to let Osarieme talk to Tamica on the phone. What had happened to the naive little girl Osarieme had consoled for weeks?

A friend of Osarieme’s who observed Charity over the weekend, walking confidently around the living room in nothing but a T-shirt and panties, wasn’t as confused. “That’s no 14-year-old,” she told Osarieme. “That’s a woman.”

Osarieme noticed that Charity’s hair was receding and tinged with gray. Her teeth didn’t look like a 14-year-old’s teeth. Her hands didn’t look like a 14-year-old’s hands. Osarieme peered at Charity as she rubbed oil on her body after getting out of the shower. Her legs, she later told Ray, “sounded like sandpaper” when they rubbed together.

After Osarieme sent Charity back to Longview, she called Tamica and told her about her suspicions. Tamica asked a manager at McDonald’s to look up Charity’s records. There it was: Charity’s birth date was listed as Nov. 20, 1979, making her four years older than Tamica.

Charity let herself into Tamica’s apartment when she got home that night. After Tamica clocked out of work, she called the police and waited outside in the pouring rain until an officer showed up and asked Charity for identification. Charity calmly told the officer that her name was Charity Stevens and her birthday was Nov. 24, 1997. When he couldn’t locate her, she gave him a few more names and birth dates. None of them worked. The officer ran a search on the birth date Tamica gave him and found a photo ID for 34-year-old Charity Johnson. Then, he arrested her. Charity packed up her things — which included three working cell phones with different numbers — and left for jail.

“I cried and cried,” said Tamica. “To be honest, I wanted to fight her, but I’m not a fighter. Why did she have to lie like that? All she had to do was tell me the truth and I would’ve let her stay.”

It took Tamica, born and raised in a church to a pastor father, a week before she felt safe enough to reenter her apartment. “It felt evil in there,” she said. She hasn’t spoken to Charity again. But Charity’s arrest wasn’t enough closure for Osarieme, who alerted the media in hopes of finding out more about her past — and assuring her long con was finally over.

“She finds damaged people,” Osarieme said. “This is what I want you to understand: a ho know another ho, a lawyer know another lawyer, a crack kid know another crack kid. It was just there: the connection, the energy. People know people. We knew each other.”

Charity now works the drive-thru window at a different McDonald’s in a different city, where she claims to live with an “aunt.” She did not want to be interviewed for this story.

“im still young n have a life to live im not trying 2 bring up stuff again its over with let it b,” she texted me. "I messed up but I have moved on that story should be over."

Charity claims she's stopped posing as a teenager to prospective “moms” on Facebook. She deleted her Facebook account shortly after I asked her if she wanted to meet. But as recently as August, Charity sent a selfie to Camille Levins Snow, the Florida writer of a religious self-help book for girls called The Kingdom Princess Project: Encouragement for Royalty. (“Every girl wants to know her daddy thinks she’s a princess,” the book’s Amazon description explains.) The photo is classic Charity, a close-up of her wrinkle-free skin and wide eyes with an encouraging message in pink font: “I smile thru it.”

Camille had been Facebook messaging with Charity for a long time; earlier in the year, Charity wrote an essay for school about how Camille was her role model.

"So is she 18 or 31?" Camille asked me. I told her she was 34. Camille never wrote back.

Charity did give one reporter an interview. On June 10, 2014, after 29 days in jail, Charity pleaded guilty and was released. Ray picked her up and led her through the swarm of reporters waiting outside to his van. He drove her straight to KETK, NBC’s East Texas station, where anchor Alexandra Carter was waiting. He was coordinating with Osarieme, who had promised KETK a scoop.

Charity told Alexandra that she didn’t know why she was there and that she didn’t want to talk. One problem: Charity had nowhere else to go. She called Osarieme, who told Charity that if she didn’t go on TV, Ray wouldn’t pick her up from the station and they’d never talk again.

“Charity still wanted me to treat her like a child, even after I knew her age,” Osarieme said. “So I told her, if she ever wanted to see me again, she had to do it.”

Charity assumed that Osarieme, whom she still called “mom,” would let her move in after she spoke with KEKT. Instead, Osarieme gave her the number for a nearby shelter. The two texted for a few weeks, until Osarieme blocked her on Facebook and stopped picking up her calls.

Charity refused to look directly at the camera when she spoke to KETK. Wearing cornrows in her hair and a T-shirt that says, “I’m not a nag, I’m a motivational speaker,” she shyly said “34” when asked her real age.

"I'm just a normal person,” Charity said. “Like any other normal person, trying to pursue her education, get her education, and make it through life... and be a better person."

Later, she added, "I guess you can say I was looking for love."

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