Fact Check: Photo On Biography Of Boy Who Died From Coronavirus Is NOT Actually Him

Hoax Alert

  • by: Molly Weisner
Fact Check: Photo On Biography Of Boy Who Died From Coronavirus Is NOT Actually Him Wrong Caption

Is the photo accompanying a story about the death of a 13-year-old English boy actually the right person? No, that's not true. A biographcal piece on Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, who died on March 30, 2020, from COVID-19, features the photo of Conor Wilmot, a 13-year-old Irish boy who died in 2017 from an internet self-harm challenge.

The photo of Conor Wilmot appeared in two similar biographical summaries about Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab (archived here and here) published by wikitrusted.com on April 3, 2020, and wikifoxnews.com on April 4, 2020. The wikitrusted.com article was titled "Who is WHO IS ISMAIL MOHAMED ABDULWAHAB ( Died) Wiki, Bio, Age, Family, Career, Net Worth, Many More Facts You Need To Know." It opened:

"Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab is the first 13-year-old boy in the United Kingdom who is known to have died after positive tests for coronavirus were buried without the immediate presence of his family as they isolate themselves. None of Ismail's immediate family was able to attend after two of his six siblings began showing symptoms of the virus. The coffin carrying the body of 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab was thrown to the ground by four people wearing protective clothing, gloves and face masks in a cemetery in south-east London."

Here is how the stories appeared, side by side:

Conorcollage.jpg

The incorrectly captioned image was embedded at the top of both articles, by wikitrusted.com and wikifoxnews.com. The inclusion of a photo of Conor Wilmot who died in 2017, in the biography of Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, who died in 2020 of COVID-19 has added a false crisis-actor narrative to the growing number of online conspiracies about the novel coronavirus.

Some people, for example, claim that the coronavirus is cover for the current economic crisis or to hide 5G cellular technology tower installations. Many other conspiracies also still thrive despite the wide evidence that COVID-19 is all too real.

This young boy in the articles is actually Conor Wilmot.

Wilmot's picture is correctly featured on an Irish Times article from May 2017, which reads:

"At the funeral mass of Conor Wilmot, Fr Harry Bohan, the parish priest of Sixmilebridge, told mourners that Greg Wilmot had found his son's body behind the family's home in Sixmilebridge last Thursday.

Mr.Wilmot has said the 13-year-old died because of a "choking game" he had found on the internet and did not intend to take his own life."

Wilmot's unfortunate death had nothing to do with coronavirus, especially since it occured years before Ireland reported its first coronavirus case in February 2020.

However, Abdulwahab did die from the coronavirus in late March 2020 in London, and he was recently buried without the presence of his family because of worldwide quarantines:

Wilmot's photo also appeared alongside another teenager who died from the same violent Blue Whale Challenge in the U.S. in July 2017, causing some confusion about the two boys' identities:

isaiah-gonzales-conor-wilmot.jpg

This photo, which came from a Unilad article in July 2017, features both Wilmot (left) and Isaiah Gonzales (right) as victims of the same suicide-provoking internet ploy. Gonzales' was 15 when he died in his home in San Antonio, Texas.

The photo of Gonzales was run by multiple Texas news outlets, but reproductions of his story outside the state credited KSAT-TV, a television station serving San Antonio and other parts of Texas.

The photo of Vitor Godinho, a 14-year-old from Portugal who died in March 2020 from coronavirus, has also been conflated with Abdulwahab. Godinho's photo was posted to Facebook and wrongly captioned as the face of Abdulwahab:

vitor capture.PNG

This post from Facebook even says in the bottom corner that it's not Abdulwahab but Godinho. Yet, the same misattribution remains in Facebook groups, spreading false information:

Clearly, all the boys are entirely different people, but only Abdulwahab and Godinho are connected to the coronavirus outbreak, which has reached over 1 million cases worldwide as of April 6, 2020.

Other supposed "news" outlets online have also misattributed the headshots, including Smartclub, which links to an article from IOL that now features a different photo. A near replica of the wikitrusted.com story posted on wikifoxnews.com, and wikiglobals.com also features the wrong headshot.

Lead Stories has written extensively about false news and conspiracies surrounding COVID-19. Check out our latest stories here:

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Molly Weisner

Molly is a staff writer and fact-checker at Lead Stories based in North Carolina. She is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying media and journalism, with a specific interest in investigative reporting. Molly is also a reporter on several projects based out of UNC's journalism school, including another fact-checking initiative and an online weekly for a former news desert in Chatham County, North Carolina. Molly has also pursued freelance reporting in tracking the juvenile justice system in North Carolina.

Read more about or contact Molly Weisner

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion