A North Idaho family has narrated how their mother fell into a romance scam with a Nigerian, costing her everything she ever worked for – including her life.
Seventy-year-old Diane Webb had been single for about 40 years.
Her granddaughter Mallorie Williams thought a dating app could help her find a spouse.
That was until Diane fell in love with a guy named Michael.
“I actually went with her on one because she was scared to go. It seemed like it was working and then it wasn’t, real quickly,” the granddaughter said.
Diane had fallen for Michael, who within three years of talking, would ask her for money for different reasons, her family said, adding that he even told her he would fly in to visit her.
“On the day he was supposed to show up he would tell her ‘I’m at the airport, but I don’t have money to get to you. Could you just give me a little?’ He was in Africa the whole time,” Webb’s daughter Monica Grimm said.
The family said Michael would try to convince Diane her family didn’t value her as much as he did.
Diane eventually turned her back on her family and sold her home for a man that never even existed.
“I was angry, bitter, and mad that my grandma would choose this man over her family,” Mallorie said.
According to her daughters, Diane planned a three-month visit to Nigeria in March this year to go see and spend time with Michael.
Diane was supposed to be back to the States in June but to the family’s surprise, it ended up being much longer than they imagined.
“I cannot imagine the horror on my mother’s face when she got off that plane in Nigeria and found out right away that he was not who he said he was,” Monica said.
The daughters said instead of finding love in Nigeria, Diane found captivity as she was held in a warehouse in Enugu (against her wish) where she was only fed potatoes and beer.
The trauma didn’t end there.
“She said that the abuse by several men and this one that she was talking to started right away. Physical abuse, mental abuse, all of it,” Monica said.
Diane became close with one of the guardsmen who would later become her ticket back to the US, the family said.
“He felt bad for my mom being 70 and as sick she was. He told her I’m getting you a ticket and sending you back home,” daughter Melinda Thomas said.
On July 9, just after midnight, Spokane Airport security called the family and told them that Diane was back home.
Unfortunately, this ordeal was just too hard on Diane.
She recently passed away at an area hospital due to malnutrition, the family added.
The FBI have not commented on whether they’re investigating Diane’s case.