On Christmas Eve, Texas television station KLTV wanted to honor a military family that had sacrificed over the holiday season. It contacted East Texas Military Family and Friends Support Network and was subsequently connected to Deserea Hopkins, an alleged Army vet and mother of two.
Hopkins appeared on air that very day and gave an emotional interview about missing multiple Christmases with her children while deployed overseas.
“I’ve been on two deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. We actually had to go and kick down doors do all the dirty work. Go make arrests. I really just missed my family, mainly,” Hopkins said on air. “The military was my life; that’s all I know, but I’m more than happy to be a single mom to my kids.”
Unbeknownst to both the television station and the military organization, Hopkins had spent only two months in the Army. Despite photographs showing Hopkins wearing a high ranking patch on a military uniform, she had never progressed beyond the rank of private first class. She had duped them all.
Military veterans questioned how the single mother of such young children (and nine month and two year-old) could have been deployed during most of her pregnancy and due dates. People who knew Hopskins straight up accused her of lying on social media.
When Guardians of Valor got on the case, Hopkins’ story unraveled. The organization found that she had never completed basic training and was actually in jail during the time period she claimed to be deployed. The Army eventually responded to both Guardians of Valor and KLTV and confirmed that Hopkins had lied about her service.
KLTV removed her interview from its website and posted a followup article explaining its mistake and how far Hopkins’ deception reached. Apparently, Hopkins had lied to the military organization that vetted her for the interview without ever seeing her DD214.
“We appreciate the hundreds of people across the country who recognized the apparent discrepancies in the story Hopkins told to us, as well as to local veterans assistance groups,” KLTV wrote. “We regret that our efforts to recognize the sacrifice made by our military men and women turned into a story that misled and angered those it was meant to honor.”