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No bodies found in Texas home after Psychic tip
08-06-2011, 07:15 AM
Post: #1
No bodies found in Texas home after Psychic tip
RDIN, Texas — Deputies who swarmed a rural Texas neighborhood Tuesday to search a farmhouse where a person claiming to be a psychic told officials multiple bodies were buried found no evidence of even a single homicide, a sheriff's official says.
Liberty County Sheriff's Capt. Rex Evans said there was no indication of bodies being anywhere on the property about 70 miles northeast of Houston. Officials ended their search Tuesday night and went home, with the focus of the investigation now turning to the tipster who led local law enforcement and FBI agents to the home.
The sheriff's office had received two calls from the person, officials said. Evans said authorities took the tip seriously in part because the caller had details about the interior of the house that only someone who had seen it could have known.
He said authorities were working to track down the tipster and determine how she had such detailed information on the house. He said authorities had a name and number for the woman.
Asked if authorities thought the tip was a hoax, Evans said only that they found no bodies or anything to indicate a homicide had occurred there.
"We are going to continue our investigation and find out how this individual had this information in the first place," Evans said.
He said no decision would be made on charges until the caller could be questioned and the district attorney consulted.
The investigation began after the sheriff's office received a tip from a psychic who claimed that many bodies, including those of children, were at the home, said Liberty County Judge Craig McNair, the county's top elected official.
A quick search Monday night turned up nothing, authorities said. But the tipster called back Tuesday morning to say deputies had the wrong house, Evans said.
McNair said deputies found blood on a back door and detected a foul odor coming from the house, leading to the search warrant.
"We have to take tips like this very seriously," McNair said.
McNair said the owners of the home are apparently long-haul truck drivers and that there was apparently an attempted suicide at the house a couple of weeks ago that could have explained the blood on the door.
Truck driver Joe Bankson, told The Houston Chronicle that he had his family had lived at the house for three years and he had no idea why the tipster would have called police. He also said his daughter's former boyfriend who had tried to cut his wrists a couple of weeks ago, which could explain the blood.
"I haven't killed anybody," said Bankston, 44, who was reached by the newspaper while on the road in Dallas. "And I have a lot of friends, but I haven't helped anybody bury any bodies."

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08-06-2011, 07:25 AM
Post: #2
RE: No bodies found in Texas home after Psychic tip
Eli Roth
@eliroth view full profile →
Los Angeles
The mundane musings of an obsessive-compulsive horror nerd.

I wish Texas police would spend less time worrying about nonexistent corpses and more time trying to catch that leprechaun in the tree.
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09-06-2011, 03:51 PM
Post: #3
RE: No bodies found in Texas home after Psychic tip
further update from daily mail


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News Home Arts Headlines Pictures Most read News Board Login Find a Job Dating Wine Our Papers Feedback My Stories Thursday, Jun 09 2011 3PM 16°C 6PM 14°C 5-Day Forecast
'They are still alive': Psychic who sparked massive police hunt for 30 dead children revealed as 48-year-old grandmother called Angel

Last updated at 2:00 PM on 9th June 2011

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'Angel' still thinks three children are trapped somewhere
Says police did not act on her advice
Police followed tip because 'woman could describe interior of home'
Bemused property owner: 'I haven't helped anybody bury any bodies'
Blood on a door and foul odour led to search warrant
The psychic who sparked a massive police hunt for a mass grave has been revealed as a 48-year-old grandmother who says she has had visions all her life.

The woman, who would only be identified as Angel, says police did not act on the information she gave them and that instead of a mass grave filled with dismembered children, police should now hunt for three children who are 'hungry and thirsty'.

The Hardin, Texas home of Joe and Gena Bankson was raided by FBI agents, 15 car loads of local police, sniffer dogs and a helicopter on Tuesday - all acting on a tip from 'Angel' that the bodies of 30 children were buried on the property.

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Fruitless: Quiet Liberty County became the scene of a huge search before officers abandoned their investigation

Hunt: Police began searching the Texas property for a mass grave after a psychic tipped them off

Speaking to the Houston Chronicle, Angel said she was angry at being ridiculed for her prediction.

She said: 'This is bad for people who call in a tip for something.

Monday afternoon - Tipster calls local police to say a number of bodies buried at the home.

Monday evening - Police investigate, but find nothing.

Tuesday morning - Tipster calls back telling police they searched the wrong house.

Police re-search new house and find blood and foul smell.

Tuesday afternoon - Search warrant issued, police call FBI and launch full investigation.

'They think they have done a good deed, and it turns around on them.'

Angel said she has had visions her entire life and that the latest 'child massacre' tip was shared by three of her friends.

The grandmother said her vision that three children could be in trouble was shared with two friends who were having similar visions.

The troubling thoughts then prompted her to contact the Liberty County Sheriff's Office Monday.

She also attacked police for not following up what she had told them, saying they had not 'acted on what I told them'.

She said 'My biggest concern is definitely the children.I think they are hungry and thirsty. They are still alive.'

Angel told the paper she never wanted any attention and fears the worldwide interest sparked by the debacle will ruin her life.

She added: 'I also have children and grandchildren.

'I'll be bombarded with media and all that. I do not like the spotlight.'

According to the paper, sources close to the investigation confirmed Angel was the anonymous tipster.

They added she had contacted police with tips before.

Police today said they were still trying to locate the person who called in the tip, and would not say if they had spoken to Angel in connection with their inquiries.

Search: Police launched a search after finding blood and a foul odour coming from the home yesterday

The hunt started when Angel phoned in a tip on Monday night - police investigated the house but turned up nothing.

She then called back Tuesday morning to say deputies had the wrong house.

McNair said deputies found blood on a back door and detected a foul odour coming from the house, leading to the search warrant.

But embarrassingly, while news teams gathered to report the shocking discovery, it emerged the 'odour' was rotting garbage, the blood belonged to a family friend's failed suicide attempt and Angel was - unsurprisingly - wrong.

After wasting hundreds of man hours and spending up to $1 million on the hunt, Liberty County Judge Craig McNair was then forced to admit on Tuesday night: 'There's no crime scene.'

McNair and Captain Rex Evans, spokesman for the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, said the woman, now known to be Angel, twice called in the tip.

Asked at the time if authorities thought the tip was a hoax, Evans said only that they had found no bodies or anything to indicate a homicide had occurred there.

It is thought the blood came from a suicide attempt at the property a few weeks ago., a Houston news website, reported that Bankston said the blood on the porch belonged to his daughter's ex-boyfriend, who cut his wrists while drunk and is now in a psychiatric hospital.

The man whose property was at the centre of the massive - but utterly pointless - FBI and police said yesterday he was 'no killer'.

Speaking to the New York Times, Gena Bankson, a long-haul truck driver who has lived in the house with her husband for about four years, said that she believed Angel was 'mentally unstable.'

Mr Bankson, who left the home on Sunday and is currently in Dallas, en route to Georgia with his wife, had insisted he had no idea why police were searching his house.

'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.

Psychic detectives claim to be able to use the power of their mind to help police in their investigations.

Their purported powers include ability to see events that happened in the past (post-cognition), to 'read' information from inanimate objects (psychometry), and to be able to read minds (telepathy).

A 1993 survey found that out of 50 police forces in the United States, one third had accepted predictions from psychic detectives in the past.

Despite the apparently high number, only seven departments treated information gained from psychics differently to information from an ordinary source.

Several police departments, the FBI and other investigative organisations say that psychics have never demonstrably solved or prevented a crime.

Often psychics come forward offering their help to victim's families and their evidence is taken into consideration along with other elements of the case.

Recently the parents of missing Holly Bobo turned down an offer from renowned psychic Carla Baron for help in finding their missing daughter.

Panic: To the bewilderment of the owner, police descended on the property to look for 30 buried bodies

Sweep: After a huge search police could find no evidence of a mass grave and blood that had been discovered at the home was attributed to a previous suicide attempt

'It took me all day to clean the inside of the house. I'm not sure I got it (the blood) all.'

Trucker Joe Bankson told the Houston Chronicle that his son Joe is a convicted sex offender, but said he hadn't lived in their home for more than a year.

Speaking of his estranged son, Joe said: 'He lived with us for a little while, but had to go to Michigan about a year ago for a court appearance and never came back,' Bankson said.

'Last I heard, he was in Ohio.'

It was reported that Angel had claimed up to 30 dismembered bodies were buried at the Hardin home, with the majority of the corpses those of children.

Authorities said they took the tip seriously in part because Angel had details about the interior of the house that only someone who had seen it could have known.

Evans added: 'We are going to continue our investigation and find out how this individual had this information in the first place.

'At this time no bodies have been recovered. We have investigated this part of the scene as much as we can.'

Investigators were today still following up enquiries and had not yet decided whether to prosecute Angel.

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12-06-2011, 09:08 AM
Post: #4
RE: No bodies found in Texas home after Psychic tip
even got into the guardian

Texas hoax had the media digging their own grave
A massacre in Texas? Dismemberment? Psychics? It captured the popular imagination – but what happened to checking facts?

Bob Garfield, Thursday 9 June 2011 13.30 BST
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After a psychic tip-off about a mass grave in Texas, Liberty County sheriff's department informs the media no bodies have been found. Photograph: Richard Carson/Reuters
Europe woke up to a tremendous disappointment on Wednesday. Despite the lurid promises of the 11 o'clock news, authorities in Texas had failed to unearth 30 dismembered corpses from a property in rural Liberty County. Not even 15 bodies. Not even one stinking cadaver, with or without extremities – much less the poor mutilated children TV viewers were all prepared to be horrified/titillated to learn all about.

Dang, what if they held a Texas Chainsaw Massacre and no bodies came?

Within four hours of the first reports, over here in the Greater Texas area, the mass-grave bombshell had utterly fizzled. Turned out that Liberty County sheriff's deputies had been acting on a tip from a woman who may or may not have been claiming to be a psychic, and who may or may not have had an ulterior motive in directing police to the home of the long-haul trucker who owns the place. But by then it was too late for media, in or near Greenwich mean time. They'd long since launched a journalistic corpse-a-palooza.

And why not? It all seemed like such a done deal, verification-wise. Agence France Presse reported that "Texas police, acting on a tip-off, found a mass grave containing 'a lot of bodies,' including the corpses of children". This is AFP we're talking about, not the hairdresser – although there was a red flag embedded in the opening paragraph. The wire service's source? "US media." That's not the hairdresser; it is equally not the horse's mouth. Reuters reported approximately the same shocking headline, but would not be so sloppy to source the news to something so vague and unaccountable as "US media". Reuters cited "local media".

Ah. Now there's some due diligence. But these were two apparently independent wire sources, giving Sky News and others the journalistic cover to play the story up as big as Texas. And there was more supposed confirmation still. CNN tweeted the grisly discovery as an uncontested fact, perhaps relying on @BreakingNews, which aggregates flashes from around the Twitterverse and told its 2.6 million followers: "Dozens of bodies found buried in Texas – KPRC." And KPRC? That is a Houston TV station, which moments earlier had tweeted: "Dozens of bodies have been found in Liberty County. Join us for KPRC at 5pm for the latest information." The source there, evidently, was "just sayin'".

TV and the internet are, of course, notoriously haphazard about journalistic rigour. Luckily, there are quality broadsheet newspapers such as the Guardian, which, in grafting together wire-service copy under a staff byline, responsibly hedged its bets in the opening paragraph by inserting the words "may have" before "found a mass grave" – even though the second paragraph reported the official police denial of any such discovery.

As the poets said, oy vey.

So how does such a thing take place? Well, that's a sadly easy question to answer, because this is becoming a tragically common phenomenon. The first trap is the 24/7 news cycle. News organisations are in competition not only with one another, but with every doofus with a Twitter account. Once a story is in play – no matter how unconfirmed, no matter how thinly sourced – newsrooms are at pains to weigh in with something. In such circumstances, a premature tweet from (most likely the lowest-ranked employee of) a Houston TV station can suddenly look like the word of God.

NPR, which distributes my own radio show, learned this the hard way earlier this year when it reported the death of US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in a Tucson, Arizona shooting. The source was a law-enforcement official – ie some cop who didn't know what the hell he was talking about. But NPR rushed on the air to bury the woman. It would have been a small scoop, had she been dead. Instead it was just an outrage.

Complicating the Liberty County fiasco was the pulpy deliciousness of the details. Real-life Texas massacre! Psychics! Mutilation! I assure you there is an inverse relationship between the degree of bizarreness and the media's appetite for double-checking. A breakthrough in negotiations of tax legislation requires two independent sources, at least one on the record. A shallow grave requires a whisper and a gasp.

Finally, and it pains me to say this, there is you. Yes, you. A backyard full of slasher victims so conforms to the popular imagination about America that I daresay there were more stomachs turned in Europe on Tuesday night than eyebrows raised. A massacre in Texas? Dismemberment? Clairvoyants? But of course.

We are all victimised by our own world views, which modern media have rather mastered pandering to. If you were so ready to swallow the dead-Texans rumour, imagine how you are processing the so-called news that really matters. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011
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12-06-2011, 04:56 PM
Post: #5
RE: No bodies found in Texas home after Psychic tip
now there saying the hoaxer wasn't a psychic

Last week a so-called psychic reported a mass grave to police in a rural Texas region. When the grave was proven to be a hoax the local law enforcement were embarrassed after alerting the media prematurely. What was simply a phoned-in anonymous tip from a woman claiming to have premonitions turned into a media circus when news broke that there may have been a mass grave containing as many as 30 mutilated children on the property of a rural farmhouse. It seemed like something out of a horror movie and the FBI arrived with dogs in tow.

But no bodies were found.

The alleged anonymous psychic may be facing charges for filing false reports, but she has spoken to the media in an attempt to clear her good name. (snicker) She calls herself angel and says this whole thing has been blown out of proportion because of the law enforcement officials -- apparently she wasn't taught to take responsibility for her actions. She purposely called the police on nothing more than a hunch and wasted the resources of well-intending professionals. She also brought embarassment on the home of the property searched.

"Angel" claims she is not a psychic. She says she's a heaven-sent prophetess who talks to angels.. or they talk to her.. something like that. Anyway the Texas woman claims that she only reported the potential of three young children and did not warn police of a mass grave.

"They up-front asked me how I got the information, and I am a reverend. I am a prophetess and I get my information from Jesus and the angels, and I told them that I had 32 angels with me and they were giving me the information and then it went from there," Angel said.

Angel still says she believes there are children in trouble. She may have gotten the location wrong (eye roll) but somewhere there's a grave? Okay, yah, everyone knows that, "Angel," now will you please consider medication to put those voices you hear at ease?

She also says she's never going to call in again. Which is great because she's obviously a waste of time. It's not great that the police ran out on a whim and searched this property, but at least they took a tip seriously unlike cops in other states who just laugh off the thought of pyschic assistance. Psychic pheomena isn't something to laugh at, but when it's some nutjob who claims to talk to "Jesus and the angels," for visions then chances are, they're probably a little unbalanced.

Hopefully this "Angel" will seek help by court order, as opposed to doing jail time. She is obviously troubled.

Chelsea Hoffman is the author "Chloe and Louis," and two other novels. She resides in Las Vegas where she works as a freelance writer covering true crime stories and a myriad of other assorted works. You can follow her on Twitter or follow her blog Beauty Made Fresh!
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13-06-2011, 10:46 AM
Post: #6
RE: No bodies found in Texas home after Psychic tip
Apparently this has got all the other psychics a little worried about whether they'll be taken seriously! This woman has helped solve over 400 crimes and even she's a little worried
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