PLEASANT VIEW -- A Hooper softball coach was arrested Thursday and charged with stealing more than $5,000 raised for Primary Children's Medical Center at a two-day charity softball tournament in August.
Shawnn Marie Brakefield, 33, of Hooper, was in charge of handling the money for the Brody Spinden Memorial Tournament, held Aug. 13 and 14 in Ogden. She was booked into the Weber County Jail facing one count of theft, a third-degree felony. She was later released on $5,000 bail. A preliminary hearing date had not been set on Friday.
Pleasant View Detective Jerry Anderson said he interviewed Brakefield about the allegation that she took the funds and said, "She admitted to it."
"I have the bank records, so I know where all the money went, at least $4,500 of it, over the course of a couple of months. It looks like she was using it as her own personal debit card. She was gassing up, buying groceries, and I think there was even a night stay at Springville, at a hotel," Anderson said.
The softball tournament was held in honor of Brody Spinden, 30, who had died the previous November of a heart ailment. The tournament raised $5,471.
Spinden's mother, Linda Child, of North Ogden, said Friday her son loved to play softball and his favorite charity was Primary Children's Hospital. His softball friends decided to hold a tournament for the hospital in his honor.
Child said her family was approached by Brakefield, who coaches the 12U Utah Storm Girls Fastpitch Softball team, with an offer to handle the funds.
"So they threw this huge tournament. We had dozens of fundraisers and the biggie was the tournament," Child said. It lasted two days at Ogden's Fourth Street sports complex.
Child said the two teams that won the tournament's top prizes of $200 even donated their winnings.
"And she took every penny that was in there for her use," Child said.
Child said she feels robbed on several levels. Not only is the money gone, but all her son's friends who helped out were cheated.
"Brody was extremely well liked," she said, "and so many of his teammates came together." She said her son was "just an extremely well-liked kid. He didn't know any strangers. To him strangers were just friends he hadn't met yet."
Child said she grew suspicious when she had trouble getting the money from Brakefield to take to Primary Children's Hospital for a scheduled donation in mid-October.
"We kept pushing her and pushing her and pushing her to get the money," Child said, "and she gave me the checks, and I took them to the bank to see if they'd clear, and they wouldn't clear. She'd taken every penny.
"So I had to call Primary Children's Hospital and tell them we weren't coming."
She contacted Det. Anderson, who spent the next six weeks investigating the case. He arrested Brakefield Thursday.
Anderson said he asked Brakefield why she took the money, "and she wouldn't give me an answer. I asked her if she was strapped for money, and she said no."