Mysterious cancer cluster2 children

Fallon, Nevada

Real Name: Dustin Gross, Zachary Beardsley, other names unrevealed
Case: Suspicious Illness/Deaths
Date: 1997-2002
Location: Fallon, Nevada


Details: Fallon, Nevada, is a small town of just 7,000, fifty miles northeast of Carson City, Nevada, that seemed to be the perfect place to start a family. However, between 1997 and 2002, seventeen children in this rural town have been diagnosed with nearly identical cancer, three of which eventually would die. The first case was of Dustin Gross in 1997, whose family noticed one day that he had odd bruises all over his body along with little red blood specks on the surface of his skin, and after his blood was drawn, doctors told his family that he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia that usually afflicts children between the ages of 2 and 9. It causes the production of millions of defective white blood cells, destroying the immune system, and can be fatal, so Dustin immediately went under aggresive chemotherapy. Then, over the next two years, fourteen more children contracted the same leukemia that Dustin had in the Fallon area, which is phenomenal for a town of such small size. Authorities believe that the outbreak is more than just a coincidence, and parents of the children are desparate for answers before more children become ill and possibly die. Within weeks of Dustin's diagnosis two more children came down with childhood leukemia as well and the cancer treatment facility at the local hospital was overwhelmed. RN Barbara DeBraga feared that it was an abnormally high occurrence of cancer known as a cancer cluster, so she contacted the state assemblyperson from the Fallon area and an official investigation began. Dr. Randall Todd, the state epidemiologist, began an inquiry, and at the same time, a fifth and sixth victim got cancer, so he tried to find a common denominator, and suggested an environmental toxin as a possible cause, but no leads panned out with that.
Mysterious cancer cluster5 arsenic

Some believed it was arsenic in the water that caused the cancer

Eventually, a ninth case, that of Zach Beardsley, soon appeared. When he was diagnosed with childhood leukemia, his mother opened their house to a team of scientists, but no evidence inside the home suggested what the cause of the cancer might have been. There was speculation that something in the town might be responsible for all these cases, including arsenic and mercury in the water which was found in several nearby lakes and rivers which were places where the children liked to play, pesticides from nearby farms that may have had radiation from underground atomic tests that took place in the 1960s, ground deposits of cobalt and tungsten in the town, a naval air base that had a type of jet fuel that might have been cancerous, and many other possibilites, although none of the theories have been confirmed, and none of the toxins or other elements have been connected to any of the cases. Doctors and the cancer victims' families would like to find out what actually is responsible for the cancer and if any other towns might have had similar problems.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the September 6, 2002 episode.
Results: Unsolved

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