Fact Check

At Least 17 Bodies Found in Ohio River Near Henderson, Kentucky?

Reports of the discovery by police of multiple plastic-wrapped bodies in the Ohio River are fake news.

Published Jul 6, 2014

Police recently found 17 plastic-wrapped bodies in the Ohio River.

On 7 July 2014, the Empire News web site published an article positing that police had recently found at least 17 plastic-wrapped bodies in the Ohio River:

A mass burial ground was discovered by divers near Henderson, Kentucky yesterday, after a local man walking his dog had alerted police that he thought he saw someone floating down the Ohio River.

Police searched the area, and discovered at least 17 bodies in different stages of dismemberment and decay. The bodies were all found wrapped individually in plastic bags.

"This could be the most prolific, active serial killer in the United States," said Captain Owen St. Pierre of the Henderson police department. "Two of the bodies identified so far have been determined to have extensive criminal records; we are considering the possibility that these murders could be inspired by the television series Dexter."

Soon afterwards links and excerpts referencing this article were being circulated via social media, with many of those who encountered the item mistaking it for a genuine news article. However, the article was just a bit of satire from Empire News, a web site that publishes fictional stories such as "Cure for Cancer Discovered; 'Amazingly Simple' Says Researcher," and "College Student Excused from Classes After Dog Eats Grandmother," and "Woman Gives Birth, Confuses Doctors by Asking for Maternity Test."

Empire News's disclaimer page notes that it "is a satirical and entertainment website."

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.