Victoria Marut, a Masters of Arts in Education graduate student, is facing a Class C felony for forgery of a false doctor’s note, which said she was a cancer patient.
Tom Johnson, Department of Public Safety director, said Marut was working as an intern through the MAE program at Kirksville Primary School, and had told University employees that she was suffering from cancer.
Johnson said the school was concerned about Marut’s physical ability to continue with the program and asked her to provide a letter from a doctor saying she was okay to continue her internship.
“She produced a letter later that afternoon that looked like it was on Boone Hospital letterhead with Doctor [Michael] Trendle’s name on it that spelled out a diagnosis and said she was able to continue,” Johnson said.
He said the Kirksville Primary School and the education department administrators looked into the letter and found that Trendle, an oncologist with the Missouri Cancer Associates, did not write the letter and never had Marut as a patient.
Paul Yoder, education department chair, said the initial investigation sprung from curiosity within the department after a few discrepancies were found within Marut’s story. He said questions also were raised from the Primary School to pursue more information as well.
“Her future as a student is uncertain at this point,” Yoder said. “The investigation is going on and everybody has their day in court, but there’s no conviction at this point.”
Yoder said the department has made no formal decisions since the situation became a legal matter after she admitted to the forgery two weeks ago.
Johnson said Marut was in jail for a few days, but released on her own recognizance, along with other conditions.
“She’s saying she did it to get attention from her mother,” Johnson said. “Right now that’s the most plausible story that I have, but I’m not sure I believe that.”
Johnson said he is working closely with the Adair County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, and that Marut has been compliant to answer questions.
There is no timeline for the investigation, Johnson said. He said he’s working toward finding what financial gain Marut received, if any.
Marut received gifts — potentially including a $700 wig — which she could receive additional charges for, but it’s currently all being investigated, Johnson said.
“Every time I peel off a layer [of the case], another one is there,” he said.
Marut does not currently have an attorney according to Missouri Case Net. She was unavailable at the point of contact, and the Truman State Office of Student Affairs was unable to comment about the investigation and discipline process for Marut.