Paula Bonhomme already had soft spot for firefighters, so when she met the life-saving, animal-loving volunteer firefighter Jesse Jubilee James on an online message board in 2005, it didn't take long for sparks to fly.Within a couple of months, the pair was exchanging "love" letters via email and handwritten notes, including personal photos and sentimental gifts. She developed relationships with his family and friends, speaking to them by phone and showering them with presents. By April 2006, though they had yet to meet face-to-face, the couple agreed that Bonhomme should move from Los Angeles to James' home in Colorado.A few months after she returned home, Bonhomme learned the shocking reality: James and all of the family members and friends she had met online through him had never been real. They were all fictitious characters in what Bonhomme says is an epic online charade concocted by a woman in suburban Illinois -- the same woman who accompanied her on the Southwest trip after his death.
Illinois courts have twice dismissed the suit, which previously included several counts. But last month, a divided Appellate Court of Illinois reinstated the case, saying that the trial court erred in dismissing the count of fraudulent misrepresentation.
Through her attorney Phyllis Perko in Chicago, St. James declined to comment. But Perko said they are still considering the next step and may petition the Illinois Supreme Court to review the Appellate Court's decision.