I started this post in December of 2015. The first time I wrote it I was pregnant and in a rage wanting my story to get out there. I never proof read it. I am revisiting this post and re-posting it.
How many of you are familiar with the term “Catfish”? Probably quite a few. For those of you who are new to this term, it means “to lure someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.” There is show on MTV called Catfish where these two men help people seek out who has “Cat fished” them and exposes the truth. I believe that there was also a movie made about this sort of thing.
My story starts in 2010, it was early morning and I was getting ready for school. There were only a few months left of my senior year and I would be starting college in the fall. I woke up, and checked my Facebook like I did every morning; what teenage girl doesn’t? I saw I has a new friend request and decided to check it out. My heart stopped and sped up all at the same time. That name, there were only two people in the entire United State’s with that name, one of which being my deceased father; The other was my possible brother who was placed into foster care shortly after birth in 1989. I quickly added the profile and sent them a message. I should disclose that all messages are repeated word for word, spelling, grammar, and all.
April 7th, 2010
Me: “So you might possibly be the brother I have been looking for since I was 16. Because my dad’s name was Neil and if you are a jr than you must be his. So if this is true then message me back asap!”
He later responded with
“Neil”- “yea he was my dad. he gave me up to my moms husband when i was 6 month my mom said i had a sister from him by a jenny girl right”
me: “well my good sir. you are my brother”
We went the rest of the evening with minimal talking. He claimed he was in the army and currently in Iraq at the time. Being 18, not knowing any better, and not really having a reason to suspect anything; I believe him. I thought it really WAS him. I would later on find out the sick truth. Months went on of us talking though Facebook. I told him about who I was as a person, the foods I liked, things I did for fun, where I was going to college, and asked him about himself. He was very short in his answers. He claimed he had been living in the same area as I had and that he had been home from the military to his mothers in Friendship NY 3 times over the last few years. He told of how he saw some of our Fathers family but that they never said anything to him. I wanted to tell him it is because none of them knew about him until he added them on Facebook, but I left that alone. He then began to tell me that his mother was currently living in Colorado with his youngest sister, and that she had been there for around 1 year. Looking back at the conversation I should have caught onto that, it was his first real slip up in this web of lies. He also stated that he had been stationed there before being shipped out. I knew there was mostly Air Force bases out in Colorado, but in some later investigation I found that there is in fact a A base out there for the Army itself.
I asked him if we could meet and he agreed. But this is where things began to go down hill and get weird. He would always claim to be close to New York, but could never come to meet me. Once he said he was on base in Georgia, I offered to go there. At that point I had both a car and the money, the trip would have been nothing. He claimed he was being sent back to Afghanistan. I kind of stopped trying to meet him at this point.
One day it all came to an rushing realization that I was being “Cat fished.” A few of his posts on Facebook and a lot of his mothers posts have been since deleted; I do have some screen shots I will be adding. But I do remember this vividly. January 22 2012 “Neil” claimed he was in a hotel room in Dubois PA and would be on his way home in the morning.
January 24th, 2012:
“hi im on neil’s facebook my name is derik hess i have no way of getting a hold of his family but he is in the hospital right now. i served with him in iraq.”
(-Please take a minute to note that the spelling and grammar is the same as the messages between Neil and I in the upper portion of this post. )
In the comments, this “derik” stated
“im trying to get a hold of his mom some one has to make some desitions medical ones i cant.”
Yes, I know decisions is spelled wrong, this is an exact quote from Facebook.
January 26th 2012.
“hi this is neils friend again how do i say this i got a hold of his mom but neil is not going to make it through he did say he had one wish for his sisters if they do love him. they would give him a promies to stick by each other and them to be close to his mom. and to do this for life.”
“neil has writen a ltter to all three of his sisters they will be sent out tomarrow to his mom. so please give this guy his dieing wish. he is put on for a heart transplant list. lizzy he wants you to meet his mom. he loved his mom he said he gave her trouble and always didnt like her ways now being in the military he knows it was for his only good”
“he want to be barried near his great grandma stocum.”
“he is saying he wants his family that are close to his mom and friends to be the ones to be aloud at his funeral if he doesnt pull throught.”
January 27th 2012.
“to all neils family and friends neil just passed away. im calling his mom now.”
On this post, many people gave their condolences, except for one person in the Hint family who said this
“Dear military friend. I know you mean well and i can’t imagine how hard it is for you to make that phone call. But I don’t think Facebook is the place to tell people my cousin passed away. Our family should here this from loved ones first. Then after everyone knows about it you post your sincere apologies on the Internet for everyone to read. Otherwise it seems like a prank. I don’t mean to upset you but it seems blunt to write a small comment on the Internet. The last thing you want is for Neil’s close loved ones to find out randomly by their neighbor down the street, who just got off their computer. Please try to be more gentle about such devastating news in the future.”
As many of you might want to read this for yourselves, I will be posting the screen shots with this as the profiles have since been deleted.
Now, shortly after his “death” a Death Certificate was posted up on his profile by his mother; it has since been taken down. This was the real eye opener for me. The Death Certificate stated that Neil died in Philadelphia PA, but the name of the city was spelled with a F, not a PH.. No city is going to spell their name wrong.. Next I looked into the hospital that was on the “certificate.” I currently can not remember the name of the hospital and I wish I had taken a photo, but through some investigation at the time online and asking someone who lived in Philadelphia, this hospital was actually located in Baltimore Maryland. Lastly, the “certificate” had no death seal on it. There was a full photo of the “certificate” posted. You could clearly see it was printed out from the computer seeing as it was on plain white printing paper, no death seal, wrong states hospital, and Philly spelled wrong. Now, Dubois PA to Philly PA takes roughly 4 hours and 23 minutes according to Google. There was a comment made saying he made it there in about 45 minutes. This comment has also been taken down. I do not know for sure, so I could be wrong, but according to a time and flight calculator I used, it takes about an hour and 24 minutes to make it from Dubois PA to Philly PA by Mercy flight. From Philly PA to Baltimore MD is takes right about an hour and 45 minutes by car according to Google Maps. So this means, IF it was real that Neil would have went from Dubois PA to Baltimore MD in under 45 minutes when by car it takes 3 hours and 58 minutes with out traffic. Either way the certificate was a fake, I wish I still had a picture of it to show you all.
This is where I began my own search to find the real life Neil. No matter what site I used, nothing showed up. It was like he never even existed, there are no birth records or even death records. I looked for the death records in the off chance that his mother actually told the truth for once. Nothing is showing for his date of birth or any of the information I had on him; it has all been one dead end after another.I wish I could say that my story is over, but it is so far from. Neil had a sister named Samantha Eck who was also placed in the same foster care as Neil. Their mother also created a Facebook for Samantha. I knew this one was an instant fake because all of the photos she posted were never of the same person; just women and girls with blond hair. Neil’s photos were the same way, but of men with red hair. They were always so low of resolution that you couldn’t tell. Samantha, Neil, and their mother all had the same spelling, misspells, and grammar. I never interacted with Samantha much because I knew she was a fake and honestly was more concerned with my “brother.” After Neil’s “death” Samantha would periodically message me and ask me random questions like if I was going to go see his grave, or if I saw the photos that their mother posted, and she was always trying to defend her mother. Much as Neil had done, saying the same things as he had almost word for word.
I did how ever keep tabs on her profile activity just in case. Around the time she was supposed to meet her bio father, she suddenly went to rehab. No big deal right? These thing’s happen. But her step mother said she wanted to call and make an appointment to come and visit Sam to show their support, this is where it gets gruesome. January 29th 2015 Samantha “killed” herself before she was supposed to meet her bio father.Much like how Neil had a “heart attack” 2 days before we were going to meet. This is really all I have on Samantha.
I have since been in contact with Samantha’s father and step mother.
Now there is Harley who’s last name I don’t even know. According to “Neil” Harley died in a motorcycle accident in Olean NY when he was leaving the fireworks on the 4th of July in 2007. Harley was only a few months younger than I am at the time we would not have been 16, so there is no way he had his motorcycle license. According to “Neil” Harley was hit head on by a semi. With this area being as small as it is, and Olean being only 45 minutes away from where I live, you would think someone would know something about the accident. But every one I asked and every old newspaper from that year, had nothing mentioning a semi hitting a motorcycle head on. And when I say nothing I mean NOTHING. Nothing at all, no where, nothing. Seeing as there was no fake profile for Harley, my story about him stops there.
I later found out that the bio-moms sister had a son who died in a motor vehicle accident around the 4th of July in the early 2000’s. I believe that she got her story for Harley from his death. A family member to Harley said they were told he died by having an engine to a jet fall on him and crush him.
Back around November 2015 I received a Facebook message from my brothers bio-uncle stating that I kidnapped my son from Samantha before she died and that is why she killed herself. I calmly wrote him back and said if he wished I would provide all of the necessary information proving that Emmett was my child. He gave no response and the profile was soon deleted. Now, the brother is the same way as the mother is, Fake profiles everywhere and multiple profiles for themselves. Looking at the profiles of the brother, I realized that the grammar was totally different and the real brothers profiles had a smudge better grammar than the mother. Plus, the bother of the mother called out the mother for faking profiles for her kids and faking their deaths. I have been looking for these comments so I can take photos of them.
I was in Walmart with my husband not long after the message from the the bio-uncle when I noticed a woman watching us. She was moving rapidly between the isle’s and ducking down when we looked her way. It took me about an hour before I realized who it was. It was my Brother’s mother. She had been following us through the entire store while we were there. By the time I realized who she was, it was too late. We left the store immediately. The next evening I was heading into a store in my town when I was approached by a women. This woman began screaming at me about how I kidnapped Emmett and began to show me pictures that were sent to her from my brothers mother. MY BROTHERS MOTHER TOOK PICTURES OF MY CHILD IN WALMART! Now I have NEVER met her in real life, I have never even saw her until the night at Walmart. I quickly set the woman who approached me straight on the fact that Emmett is MY child and I will prove it and that I would also be contacting the police. All the woman could say was that my brother mother is telling everyone that I took my son from Samantha and she left as fast as she could. I had contacted the police and have them handling the situation. I received many messages from friends who have had contact with this woman’s family. I NEVER asked anyone to do this, they did it on their own. One person stated that the mother claimed that my brother was buried in Galeton Pa. Curious, I called and requested death records. This is the man’s exact words.
“That name doesn’t sound familiar. now I could be wrong, but I’m pretty positive we do not have anyone buried in any of our cemeteries under that name. If I do not call you back that means I didn’t find anything.”
At the time I wrote this I had not heard back from the man. Almost a yer later I several family members to my brother told me about a headstone for my brother that was placed on a family plot. I contacted a few people trying to locate what township this cemetery was over saw by, but did not have much luck. I told every person I spoke with my story and they all tried to help me locate where this cemetery was and who would have placed the stone there because they would have needed permission to do so. Some of the family members even tried to figure out who put this stone on the plot as none of them had any idea who did it. Just that it showed up a few years before my brothers fake profile even came to life. They all said they never knew who the stone belonged to until the fake profiles started.
The mother also claimed that Sam and Harley were buried out in Jamestown NY while Neil was in Galeton PA. Now why would you bury your kids in two different states? Who knows. She also stated that she had proof that the existed, Birth certificates, photos, etc. She never once stated that she had custody of them. Of course when you give birth you will have all of that information regardless if they were taken from you or not. And she was allowed photos of her children before and even after they were adopted. A family friend did what they call “Medicaid runs” to Hunt NY once a week so she could see her kids. Hunt is the last known location we had of Neil, this is where the search started for me.
I know this was all kind of long. But I appreciate you taking the time to read my story. I felt that it was time people heard my side of everything. I will be writing more about my life after all of this happened, including the meeting of my brother.
I have included only a few photos I obtained during my investigations.