Hoax Alert

Fake News: Pedophile's Body NOT Found On Train Tracks After Acquittal On Technicality

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Tue, 07 Nov 2017 19:27:49 Z)

Unreliable website YourNewsWire is at it again with a sensational fake article titled "Pedophile's Body Found On Train Tracks After Acquittal On Technicality". The story opened:

A notorious Texas pedophile, who was charged with raping a 6-year-old girl and then acquitted on a technicality, has been killed by a vigilante group who tied his body to train tracks.

Anik Mustafi, 34, from Houston, Texas, was discovered in the early hours of Saturday morning, his body cut in half by a freight train.

The train driver alerted the authorities that he had run over the body, explaining that the body was located "just around a bend" and although he received an automated alert that something may be on the tracks, he "had no time to stop the train."

Mustafi was arrested in May and charged with predatory sexual assault against a child and first degree sexual abuse after his neighbor claimed she caught him molesting her 6-year-old daughter. It was alleged Mustafi, a factory worker, groomed the girl for months before luring her into his car and assaulting her.

Indeed, so notorious was this pedophile that no news site ever heard of him. And the image that went with the story is actually from a (rather gruesome) video about a man in Dibrugarh, India who committed suicide by train. Also, the picture clearly shows a decapitated body, not a "body cut in half".

trainvictim.jpg

In addition to all that no other people are named in the story: not the supposed victim of the pedophile, none of the witnesses, judge, train driver, police officers or anyone else. The story doesn't even pinpoint the location of the find. "Houston" is conveniently big enough so that it isn't easy to verify the exact spot.

Any story that pretends to be news but which lacks even the most basic who-what-where information and which comes with an obviously fake photo is fake news in our view so we are going to go ahead and call it that.

YourNewsWire has published several hoaxes and fake news articles in the past so anything they write or publish should be taken with a large grain of salt.

The site was recently profiled in the Hollywood reporter where it was described as:

Your News Wire, a 3-year-old website of murky facts and slippery spin, is published by Sean Adl-Tabatabai and Sinclair Treadway -- a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 -- out of an apartment in L.A.'s historic El Royale.

RationalWiki described it as:

YourNewsWire (styled as YourNewsWire.com[1]) is an Los Angeles-based clickbait fake news website known for disseminating conspiracy theories and misleading information, contrary to its claimed motto ("News. Truth. Unfiltered").[1]

A while ago we also reported that YourNewsWire had rebranded itself as NewsPunch by changing its domain name in an apparent effort to evade filtering/blocking. It appears the site has changed back to it's old name in the mean time but you can still see the NewsPunch name in the contact email address in the footer.

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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