The expectant mother who told local media she had lost her baby when her gender reveal party turned into a deadly mass shooting was never pregnant, police announced.
Cheyanne Willis, 21, was one of the nine people shot at her party on July 8 when two people opened fire on the group as they watched a movie. One attendee, Autumn Garrett, 21, died, while Willis was shot in the leg.
When she was released from the hospital, Willis told local media she had lost her baby.
Now, Colerain Township police say Willis was never pregnant, despite her family’s claims.
Police spokesman James Love tells PEOPLE authorities are frustrated by the apparent lie but continue to try to solve the shooting.
“As ridiculous as it might be, it’s not a crime to lie, its not a crime to have a party over that lie,” says Love. “Now if she lied and put everyone in the danger — of course the shooters would be the main focus but [to press charges] would be a decision up to the local prosecutors.”
Willis Was ‘Excited’ to Be a Mother: Family
Speaking with PEOPLE on Friday, before the police announcement, Willis’ sister Amber White said Willis was “excited” to be a mother.
“She had a miscarriage right before and she’s been wanting a child,” White, a mother herself, said. “She’s a great aunt.”
White attended the party but left before the shooting began, she said. When asked how Willis was doing after ostensibly losing her baby, White said she was “devastated.”
During the party, Willis posted photos on her social media with attendees announcing that her baby would be a boy.
Of the suspect or suspects, White said the shooter is “someone that has no conscience.”
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Colerain Township Police Chief Mark Denney said at a news conference last Sunday that the suspects entered through the front door, though it’s unclear if they forced their way in or were invited.
The entire shooting lasted “maybe a minute or two,” Denney said. Six adults were shot, one fatally, Denney said. Three kids, ages 2, 6 and 8, were also shot and wounded.
Denney said that Autum Garrett, of Huntington, Indiana, was found dead at the scene when police arrived after the shooting. She had been shot multiple times.
The suspects — police believe there are two of them but said there was no additional information to release — were wearing dark clothing and hoodies, according to police.
Following the shooting, they fled on foot, Denney said. No arrests have been made.
‘We Wish Our Time Had Been Spent on True Leads’
On Monday, Denney released a statement explaining the difficulties detectives are facing in their investigation.
“That information [regarding Willis’ pregnancy] is not provided to embarrass anyone, only to provide a fair understanding of the challenges we have faced in the past nine days. The Colerain Police Department will not comment further on any other misleading information, other than to say we wish our time had been spent on true leads that would help us remove these dangerous criminals from the streets,” reads the statement, which was obtained by PEOPLE.
“We ask that those with information to respect the fact that resources will be used to follow up on every lead or tip. Providing misleading information only makes the task of solving this crime more difficult. We will be consulting with the Hamilton County Prosecutor in the coming days to update their office and seek advice on how to proceed with some of our information.”
Willis and her family could not be reached for comment on Monday.
A GoFundMe page has been launched to help Garrett’s family after her death.
Anyone with information is urged to call police at 513-321-COPS or Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.