Aren’t You Supposed to Call Him “Timmy?”

He could have been anyone’s little brother: A football-loving 9-year-old with a brave grin and a fatal case of leukemia. As his story percolated through the local news and radio station, it touched no one more than the football team at Eagle Valley High School. Players signed a football for Alex. They pasted A’s to their helmets. They donned orange knee socks to commemorate the cancer ravaging his body. A Facebook page in his honor collected hundreds of supporters.

And when word spread late last month that Alex had died, the grief was real.

Trouble was, Alex was not.

The New York Times has a good old fashioned hoax story today, with a twist: this one was not used to make money. In fact, they know who did it — Briana! — but not why, and no crime was committed, so she can just ride off into the sunset with this terribly awkward cocktail party story in her back pocket.