FORT MITCHELL, Ky. -- The investigation of a mass shooting at a gender reveal party in Colerain Township took a bizarre twist when investigators revealed that the woman who hosted the party — who said she lost her baby after the shooting — was not pregnant in the first place.
Police said they don’t know why Cheyanne Willis told reporters and investigators — and guests at her party, for that matter — she was pregnant, but Chief Jim Love said it’s hindered the investigation.
In Fort Mitchell 12 years ago, another woman lied about a pregnancy — and it resulted in her death.
Investigators in 2005 described Katie Smith, 22, as “obsessive” and “disturbed." Police believe she intended to take a fetus from another woman, who ended up stabbing Smith to death.
Sarah Brady told the emotional story of a harrowing knife fight on Oprah and Good Morning America in 2005.
“The only thing I thought was that she was going to kill me and my child,” Brady said on Good Morning America.
Smith lured Brady to her home in 2005, officials said. Brady was expected to give birth any day; she was five days over her due date.
This was Brady’s second time visiting Smith’s apartment. Smith originally called Brady under the guise “Sarah Brody.” Smith said she received some gifts meant for Brady, presumably due to the similarity of their names. Brady went to Smith’s apartment and picked up a package — delivered by UPS with no note of who purchased the gifts — with items from her baby registry.
While on Oprah’s “Stories of Survival” special, Brady said she spoke to Smith on the phone for an hour the second time she called about a package mix-up.
"I just suspected that she was a very lonely pregnant woman," Brady told Oprah. "I felt very sorry for her.”
But Smith’s problems stretched far beyond loneliness: She was living a lie for months before she met Brady, police said.
“(Smith) was mentally disturbed," Fort Mitchell police Sgt. Tom Loos told the Washington Post. "There is no question about it.”
Smith was a victim of childhood sexual abuse, according to court records. In 2001, her father, Timothy Smith, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for first degree sodomy involving Katie as a child.
Relatives told WCPO that Katie Smith said she was pregnant for months and kept pushing back her due date. Before that, they said, she often pretended to be ill. Some relatives also said that Smith made up the sexual abuse allegations.
Loos said Smith was carrying around an ultrasound photo of someone else’s twins and wore maternity clothing filled with padding.
Smith claimed she was pregnant in the past and said she gave birth to twins who died at birth, Loos said. She showed off a Caesarean section scar, which was determined to be from another surgical procedure.
An autopsy determined Smith was never pregnant.
"This is an extremely bizarre case,” Loos said. "Katie Smith has a complete nursery with all the furniture. She has baby clothes, diapers, formula — everything that a parent expecting a newborn should have."
Police also uncovered an obstetrics’ kit — equipped with gloves, surgical scissors and an umbilical clamp — in Smith's apartment.
"She had a pair of khakis and a blue-jean maternity shirt. She was visibly pregnant," a neighbor of Smith’s told ABC News.
Brady said she had a sinking feeling that “something was wrong” the second time she went to Smith’s home. She said she was tipped off when she saw the name “Katie Smith” on an inhaler.
"Why I looked at it, why I saw it, I'll never know,” she told Oprah.
But noticing that detail likely saved Brady’s life.
Brady told ABC that she was hugging Smith when she saw her pull out a knife. She said Smith told her “you’re not going anywhere.”
"She looked up at me with this just dead look on her face," Brady told Oprah. "To this day, it makes me sick even thinking about it — the evil that poured out of her.”
Brady said she tried for 20 minutes to ward off Smith, motivated by fear.
"I was thinking that me and my child were going to die here in this apartment and no one was going to know it,” she said.
At one point, Brady escaped Smith, but Smith caught Brady by her hair and dragged her into the nursery, Loos told the Washington Post.
Brady then struck Smith in the head with an ashtray and grabbed the knife, Loos said. She stabbed Smith three times.
"She even looked at me and said, 'You stabbed me, you stupid b***h,’” Brady said. "At that point, I took the knife out of my hand, and I fled the apartment.”
Smith called 911 and stayed on the line with operators as she lost consciousness, the Washington Post reported. She eventually bled to death.
Brady flagged down a driver and escaped with only cuts on her hands. Her daughter, McKaila, was born healthy six days later.
Smith’s family told investigators that Brady planned to sell her baby for $5,000, but backed out of the deal at the last minute. Police investigated the claims and cleared Brady, Loos said.
Smith previously worked at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood. She worked there for 15 months before she was fired; hospital officials wouldn’t tell the Washington Post why Smith lost her job. Smith also worked as a nanny and was fired almost three months before her death when her employer began to doubt that she was pregnant, despite Smith’s insistence, Loos said.
"Some days I'm angry, and other days, I feel sorry for (Smith),” Brady told Oprah. "I feel sorry that she led such a horrible life to feel that she needed this child to love her or for whatever reason that she'd be so desperate to take the life of someone else.”