Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Anatomy of a Hoax

January 28th, 2010 · No Comments


A great piece out of small-town South Carolina on an alleged attempted murder that turned out to be nothing of the sort. The “victim,” Pearl Brown, wasn’t very detailed oriented, and that was ultimately her undoing. She probably should have researched the link between head trauma and amnesia a bit more, a line of inquiry that might have led her to conclude that she couldn’t possibly fake memory loss by gashing herself on the noggin. And it was unwise to call 911 from her cell phone while posing as the attacker, then delete all of the phone’s data in an amateurish attempt to cover her tracks. As the lead detective noted, “What 16-year-old isn’t receiving texts on their cell phone?”

But Brown’s worst gaffe was ignoring the cops’ advice and talking to the press:

On Monday, [Det.] Wright asked Brown to come to the station to be interviewed. He said he stressed the serious nature of the charges, and told her if she was having a relationship with her alleged attacker, it was time to speak up. She told the detective she was telling the truth.

That afternoon, she retold her story for two television news reporters.

“I was shocked,” Wright said. “I told her she didn’t have to talk to them, but she said she wanted to. I couldn’t believe she wanted to do that.”

It was by mere circumstance that Wright was near a television that evening when one of the news stations played the recording of the 911 call, followed by footage of its interview with Brown. The detective said he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “It was the same person,” he said. “It was the first time I’d heard her voice alongside the 911 tape. I asked myself if it would have even been possible for her to have knocked herself out. But I knew.”

This, as it turns out, is classic crime-hoaxer behavior.

(Image of the infamous fur-bearing trout, our favorite aquatic hoax)

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