CLAIM

The son of a Milwaukee funeral home owner constructed a "sex doll" out of parts taken from the bodies taken to his parents' business.

FALSE

RATING

FALSE

ORIGIN

On 4 December 2017 abcnews-us.com, a web site passing itself off as ABC News published a fabricated story about a police investigation in Milwaukee that led to a disturbing discovery.

According to the story:

Steven Adams, 38, had been working as a funeral home director for nearly two years after taking over his fathers business at the Adams Sons Funeral Home in Milwaukee. He drew suspicion when authorities exhumed the female body of a 27-year-old cold case victim in the hope of backing up new evidence. Upon exhumation, technicians were shocked to find missing limbs inconsistent with how the victim died.

The investigation quickly led to Mr. Adams as the main suspect and a warrant was issued to search his home where authorities found the makeshift sex doll in the basement. The suspect confessed to using a saw to cut limbs off of cadavers and placing them in a plastic bag which he then placed in a backpack before bringing them home where he apparently reassembled them later.

Much like Abcnews.com.co, the site is not affiliated with the actual ABC News, and the story is fabricated. Regardless, at least one other site, World Wide Weird News, cited it as a legitimate source.

We contacted the real ABC News to alert the organization to the apparently unauthorized use of its name and promotional graphics by abcnews-us.com. Abcnews-us.com‘s front page, which currently features a story about Matt Lauer, is designed to mimic the layout of the real ABC News:

We also found that abcnews-us.com’s story on Lauer was copied, verbatim, from ABC News’s original 2 December 2017 report and attributed to a different author.

Another clue that the “sex doll” story was fabricated is that the “satirical” web site World News Daily Report (WNDR) also published it. However, WNDR’s version changed the setting from Milwaukee to Austin, Texas, and the suspect from funeral home director “Steven Adams” to “Jesus Cesar Franco Gonzales,” purportedly a janitor for the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office.

To supplement its version, WNDR posted a “mugshot” that is actually a photograph of former Fullerton, California, police officer Manuel Ramos, who was acquitted of second-degree murder charges in the 2011 beating death of a homeless man, Kelly Thomas. WNDR also used a photograph of the suspect’s “parents,” which appears to have been taken from a 2008 story in the Dallas Morning News’s Latino-oriented publication Al Dia in which the publication interviewed Felicita and Ramiro Romo, the grandparents of then-Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

We also contacted Al Día regarding the misuse of its interview with the couple, as well as CBS Sports, where Tony Romo currently works as an analyst for its National Football League broadcasts.

Sources:

Montenegro, Laura.   “Former Fullerton Cop Acquitted in Kelly Thomas Trial Arrested for Domestic Violence.”
    KABC-TV.   6 August 2015.

McKenzie, Joi-Marie and Aaron Katersky.   “Matt Lauer Won’t Get Paid Rest of $20 Million Contract After NBC Fired Him.”
    ABC News.   2 December 2017.