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UPDATE: Woman Pleads Not Guilty in Suspected 'Cancer Scam'

A 19-year-old woman accused of collecting money donors believed were to support medical treatment for a stage III lung cancer diagnosis, has pleaded not guilty.

Celina Winchell is charged with 17 counts of theft and obstructing an officer after investigators in Merrill say she, and her father, placed donation jars at 16 Merrill businesses and were in the process of having the Eagle's Nest host a pancake breakfast.

Celina's father, Edmund, is charged with the same counts.

Celina faces an additional count of obstructing an officer after she's accused of lying about being diagnosed with cancer to her friends on Facebook last November.

One Merrill business employee told police both Celina and Edmund had come in together asking if a donation jar could be put out.

According to court documents, family members told investigators Celina's buzzed haircut, was due to a bad dye job, not chemotherapy.

She's already charged in Marathon County for collecting funds from a donation jar at a Wausau business. A trial date has been set for August 15.

Winchell is free on a $1,500 signature bond. She'll return to court August 14 scheduling conference in Lincoln County.


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