Fake News: Jason Smith, A 14-year-old Black Teen, Was NOT Found Murdered With Organs Removed

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fake News: Jason Smith, A 14-year-old Black Teen, Was NOT Found Murdered With Organs Removed

Was Jason Smith, a 14-year-old Black Louisiana teen, found murdered with his organs removed from his body? No, that's not true: Jason Smith was found dead floating in a Louisiana pond in June, 2011, but none of his organs were missing from his body. They were removed later during an autopsy performed by a medical examiner. The coroner determined Smith's death to be an accidental drowning, but the sheriff sent his body to a medical examiner in Arkansas for more investigation.

A story questioning how Jason Smith's death could be accidental if his organs were missing when he was found originated from an article (archived here) published on October 1, 2015, under the title "Jason Smith, Black 14YrsOld, Murdered, Organs Removed; Your Help is Needed". It read:

What happened to 14-year-old Jason Smith? His death was ruled an "accidental drowning" by the coroner in Eros, Louisiana, but his body was found with his organs missing... Either that, or as Smith's family believes, somebody removed them. Smith's family is convinced that he was murdered in a racially-motivated hate crime. Moreover, they are pointing the finger at the son of an FBI agent, suggesting that the crime is being covered-up because of his involvement.

This is what social media users see:

This inaccurate story goes on to speculate about what happened to Jason's organs:

Smith had been dead for hours before his body was recovered from a lake back on June 6, 2011. It is unreasonable to imagine, however, that the time his body was in the lake would have resulted in the decomposition or selective removal of organs by predators, while the rest of his body was not destroyed.

Could the organs have been removed for some other reason? Could have have been removed to rid the investigation of any evidence contrary to the coroner's claim that Smith had died as the result of an accidental drowning? That is: no lungs, no proof that he didn't drown.

Jason Smith's organs were in his body when he was recovered from the pond. His body was sent to a medical examiner in Arkansas for an autopsy, where the organs were removed as part of the investigation. This author obviously misunderstood the sequence of events. As a result, the story's headline and several paragraphs of text misled readers into believing that a Louisiana coroner came to a bizarre conclusion by finding that a person who was found with organs removed died of an accidental drowning.

Jason's family has raised many questions about how the teen died, including suggesting their he was murdered by the four White teens he was with when he drowned in the private pond. But they have never raised suspicions about the removal of Jason's organs from his body. This Facebook post from his family details their suspicions:

This is a video recorded by the father soon after his son's death.

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  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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