HARDIN, Texas (AFP) – Texas police were investigating whether a tip-off from a psychic about a mass grave containing dozens of dismembered bodies was in fact a hoax after an intense search found no bodies.
State, local and federal agents combed the area around a rural home after a woman who claimed to be psychic called police twice to report the mass grave at in Hardin, Texas about 50 miles (31 kilometers) northeast of Houston.
She provided a very good description of both the outside and interior of the one-storey brown brick home and blood was found on the porch, which prompted police to get a search warrant and call in reinforcements.
Soon, local media were reporting that as many as 25 to 30 bodies — including children — were found on the rural property. But those reports turned out to be false.
“We searched the premises there is no indication there are any bodies at this residence, property or shed,” Rex Evans, a captain with the Liberty County sheriff department, told reporters.
“There is no indication that a homicide occurred here.”
Craig McNair, head of the county commissioners, expressed frustration with the “havoc” created by the false tip which led dozens of journalists to descend upon the quiet Texas town.
“Whoever this person was who gave this tip we’ll be in touch with her and we could hold her responsible for giving a false tip and creating this havoc,” he said.
The people who live there are long-haul truck drivers who are currently on the road and are baffled by the report, Evans said.
“Finding out that the police are in my yard for dead bodies? That’s kinda panicking me,” Joe Bankson, 44, told the Houston Chronicle.
“I haven’t killed anybody,” he said. “And I have a lot of friends, but I haven’t helped anybody bury any bodies.”
Bankson told the KHOU-TV that his daughter’s ex-boyfriend got drunk and cut his wrists a couple weeks ago and is now in a psychiatric hospital.
“It took me all day to clean the inside of the house. I’m not sure I got it (the blood) all.”