CLAIM

A morgue worker was accidentally cremated while napping or pretending to be dead.

RATING

ORIGIN

On 1 March 2017, the web site World News Daily Report (WNDR) reported that Beaumont, Texas, morgue worker Henri Paul Johnson was inadvertently incinerated by a coworker as he napped on the job:

An employee of the Jefferson County morgue died this morning, after being accidentally cremated by one of his coworkers.

According to the Beaumont Police Department, 48-year old Henri Paul Johnson decided to take a nap one a stretcher after working for sixteen hours straight.

While he was sleeping, another employee mistook him for the corpse of a 52-year old car accident victim and carried him to the crematory.

Before anyone could notice the mistake, he had already been exposed to temperatures ranging between 1400 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and reduced to ashes.

Also depicted in the article was Jenna Davis, a coworker who purportedly heard Johnson’s death screams:

Jenna Davis, one of Henri Johnson’s coworkers, says she heard him scream for about 15 seconds after the crematory was activated.

“At first, we didn’t understand where the sound was coming from. When we realised what was happening, it was too late. We shut down the heating system, but he was already dead.”

As is the case with all content published by WNDR, a fake news site, there was no truth to the story. The article’s photograph of the supposedly deceased morgue worker “Henri Paul Johnson” was actually a picture of a DeSoto County constable Christopher Plumlee, who was arrested in 2015 for DUI. And the photograph of coworker “Jenna Davis” was actually a picture of forensic pathologist Dr. Lisa Funte, taken from a May 2012 Beaumont Enterprise profile of her.

Variations: The story was reposted by a site spoofing ABC News (abcnews-us.com) in December 2017 and March 2018:

An employee of a local Huntersville funeral home died this morning, after being accidentally cremated by one of his coworkers.

According to the Huntersville medical examiner, 48-year old Kenneth Brooks decided to take a nap on a stretcher after working for sixteen hours straight.

While he was sleeping, another employee mistook him for the corpse of a 52-year old car accident victim and carried him to the crematory.

Before anyone could notice the mistake, he had already been exposed to temperatures ranging between 1400 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and reduced to ashes.

funeral home investigated

Although names and locations in the article changed, the basic premise (and its lack of veracity) remained the same. The image reproduced above accompanied the story and was taken from a March 2016 WREG report about a funeral home in Atlanta which had nothing to do with a morgue employee who was “accidentally cremated.”

In April 2018, the fake news site 8shit.net repurposed this story as an April Fool’s prank in which a morgue employee pretending to be dead was cremated by co-workers:

It’s April Fools. Everyone wants to prank their friends, family and even customers, but this man got it very wrong. 27-year old Thomas McClure is now an ex-employee of a morgue in Boston, after he tried to prank his coworkers by pretending he was dead.

To achieve his goal, he took an overdose of sleeping pills, with the idea that he was gonna be so unconscious that there would be no way to wake him up. And everything went exactly as planned: He took the pills in the morning and started doing his job. A few minutes later, he fell asleep on the floor and no one was able to wake him up. They tried pouring water on his face, slapping him, but nothing worked.

The prank worked like a charm, and all the employees were sad because they thought their friend was dead. Unfortunately, they reached to the conclusion that he was, indeed, dead, and decided to cremate him.

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