Jeremy Richman’s body was found at the Edmond Town Hall on Monday morning of an apparent suicide. The death of a child is horrific and barely manageable, but Richman was bullied every day by conspiracy theorists who claimed his daughter was still alive.
New York Times feature writer Elizabeth Williamson posted a Twitter thread about the heartbreak the Sandy Hook dad faced that likely made his depression worse with the barage of hate.
“One of these hoaxers, Wolfgang Halbig–whose Twitter account was suspended ONLY LAST MONTH–spent years insisting that Avielle Richman was alive, living in alias as another girl in Newtown, a child he repeatedly named online,” she wrote Monday evening. “Halbig’s naming of this child has terrified her family. He’s appeared on Alex Jones’ Infowars show multiple times.”
Jones claimed the Sandy Hook shooting was a “false flag” attack by the American government. He alleged that no one actually died and the children were actors. While an FBI report disputes this, the right-wing media host also alleges that the FBI is part of a deep-state attack on Americans, particularly President Donald Trump.
Six families of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting as well as an FBI agent who responded to the emergency call filed a defamation lawsuit against Jones for his role in spreading conspiracy theories by Halbig.
Halbig has “also requested thousands of pages of documents from Newtown officials, including the identities of Sandy Hook choir kids invited to sing at the Super Bowl after the shooting,” Williamson explained. “This, again, has terrified the families of Sandy Hook survivors. Halbig has appeared multiple times in Newtown, seeking documents that he wrongly insists will prove Avielle and other children killed at Sandy Hook are alive. He has done this at times with an Infowars camera crew in tow.”
“There’s no current evidence Mr. Richman’s death is linked to harassment by hoaxers,” Williamson clarified. “But too few Americans know the hell these families have endured, after the murders of their children. And social media has enabled it. Thanks for reading.”
A spokesperson for Jones released a statement Monday saying, “We note the tragic passing of Jeremy Richman with heavy hearts and profound sorrow. Mr. Jones sends his condolences to Mr. Richman’s family and wishes only for peace.”