Hoax Alert: Couple On Meth NOT Arrested For Eating Homeless Man In Central Park

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk

A gruesome internet hoax is making the rounds since yesterday: a New York couple, supposedly high on methamphetamine, was said to have eaten the fingers and four toes of a homeless man in Central Park. The two, named as 'Matthew Scroggins' (aged 32) and 'Martha Childress' (aged 43) were reportedly hungrly after not eating for five days.

A non-existent NYPD police lieutenant, 'Philip Washburn', was quoted as saying:

We found a couple that met the description of the 911 calls we had been receiving. We identified ourselves and asked them to turn around. When they did, their faces were covered with blood and the homeless man was crying for help. They had already eaten off every single one of his fingers and began chewing off his toes when we arrived on the scene.


(Image: Now8News)

The story is completely made up and originated on known hoax website Now8News, a site that uses photoshopped images made to look like TV news screenshots to make their stories more believable. For this one, they used two female mugshots (even though the story talks about a man and a woman). Both of the shots has been used dozens of times on the internet in scary mugshot galleries.

Still, enough people fell for the story yesterday to make it go viral. Don't get fooled!

  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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Lead Stories is a U.S. based fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
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