STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Was a woman in Centerville, Ohio (or anywhere else) charged after slowly eating her wheelchair-bound husband alive? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a website that is part of a larger network of sites all publishing made up tales of horror and revenge, often disguised as news reports from real news sources. It is not true.
The story originated from an article published by News Insider on January 1, 2019 titled "Centerville, OH: Woman charged after slowly "eating husband alive" over three years" (archived here) which opened:
A 62-year old Centerville, Ohio woman has been arrested on charges of mutilation and assault for a brutal crime involving her 65-year old husband.
According to a source involved in the investigation, Mrs Francine Houston was taken into custody earlier this week after a neighbor phoned 911 to report an unusual sight through the window of the Houston property.
The neighbor claimed to have seen Francine cutting flesh off her wheelchair-bound husband, Paul. Investigators were soon on the scene and confronted with one of the most gruesome sights imaginable.
"There was an elderly man in a wheelchair and he was missing all his limbs, and there were fresh wounds on his abdomen," said one of the horrified officers. "When we questioned his wife, she admitted she'd been cutting flesh off her husband for at least three years and eating it."
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
A 62-year old Centerville, Ohio woman has been arrested on charges of mutilation and assault for a brutal crime involving her 65-year old husband.According to a source involved in the investigation, Mrs Francine Houston was taken into custody earlier
However the website newsinsider-us.com was only registered a few days ago:
The site is part of a larger network of sites all designed to look like news sites from real U.S. news and entertainment brands. Older sites we identified as being part of this network include:
The current site shares several advertising network ID codes with other sites in this network.
Stories published by the network are often copied or inspired by older hoaxes from other satire or fake news sites but the quality of the writing is usually markedly better. The setting of the events is often some small town somewhere in the United States and in many cases the main illustration used is a picture found on the internet showing a police car from the local police force or a sign with the town's name on it. The same story is often re-used by changing the location and/or names of the people involved.
The picture used to illustrate the current story was taken in April 2018 during an actual police intervention in Centerville which was not related to cannibalism:
Everyone got out of the home and there were no injuries, police said. However, an adult male who lives at the home with his parent was detained because he was hallucinating, officers on the scene said. First report: We're following reports of police activity at a home in the 100 block of Hampton Road in Centerville Tuesday morning.
The website newsinsider-us.com also carries a satire disclaimer at the bottom of the page, a relatively new development for sits in this network:
News Insider is the second most infamous fauxtire & satire entertainment website in the world. If it's disturbingly funny, you will find it here. © 2019 - News Insider. All Rights Reserved.
2019-01-01T22:00:50Z 2019-01-01T22:00:50ZThe story has been denied by the Centerville police department: