Texas Couple Sues Angel the Psychic, Belo, the Times and CNN Over False Claims Of a Mass Grave at Their House
Last June, things got pretty busy around Joe Bankson and Gena Charlton's farmhouse in Hardin, what with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, the FBI, DPS and a half-dozen media outlets stopping by, as you see in the AP video above.
What were they looking for? A mass grave containing 25 to 30 dismembered bodies, of course, which they had on good authority was somewhere on the remote Bankson/Charlton property. Their tipster was a 48-year-old self-proclaimed psychic grandmother who went by the name of "Angel."
As Angel later told Houston TV station KHOU, she informed the police from the outset that her information was divinely inspired. "I am a reverend," she said. "I am a prophet and I get my information from Jesus and the angels. I told them that I had 32 angels with me and they were giving me the information and then it went from there."
But when the cops went out to check on Angel's tip, no bodies were found. Who could have predicted that? (Besides Angel. Clearly.)
Now the couple's suing the psychic, whose real name they still don't know, along with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office. Banks and Charlton filed suit on Tuesday in Dallas County District Court, accusing Angel of defamation, and the Liberty County Sheriff's Office of unreasonable search and seizure. They say that cops invited members of the media to "accompany, observe and videotape" the officers while they were executing their search warrant. They threw in Belo, the New York Times, CNN, Thomson Reuters and ABC News for publishing "false statements in national and international headlines" about all those dead people they didn't actually have lying around the farmhouse.
The couple say they suffered lost wages, "mental anguish," and "substantial damages" to their reputations. We imagine business has been a little slow for Angel too.
Next: the Fake Mass Grave Complaint doc.