Hoaxes & Rumors

Real or Hoax: Sandy Hook Victim Also a Boston Marathon Victim?

Real or Hoax: Sandy Hook Victim Also a Boston Marathon Victim?

A photo being circulated shows what is claimed to be a “mistake” showing the photo Sandy Hook school shooting victim as one of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing.

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We are calling this one a hoax.

First let’s take a look at a caption being used with this claim:

Whoa! Government is slipping up! This lady supposedly died in the elementary school shooting & apparently died again in the bombing at Boston. They have to be smarter than this, right?

Other variants have not stated that the woman pictured in the second photo died, but the caption above had nearly 50,000 shares within 24 hours after the bombing.

Who is in the photos?

Both photos are of Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary who was killed in that shooting. These photos were obviously taken at the same time, though the photo on the right has been skewed. Notice the picture frame – and the small name plate on the frame – in relation to the woman’s head.

Below we have produced an overlay of the image being circulated with the original photo of Dawn Hochsprung. We were able to skew the image to match the one on the right.

We were able to find the original photo and skew it to match this picture.

We were able to find the original photo and skew it to match this picture.

And here is the original, unaltered photo being used on the right (source):


News Caption

The news caption reads, “Donna was a few blocks away when bombs exploded.” Thus, even the news caption does not state that the woman in the picture was killed, as some versions of the shared photo claims.

Also note that the two news captions have the same font, and similar borders (the blue caption has lines at the top and bottom, while the red caption has a similar line at the bottom). The news sources are also not identified. This has led some to believe it was merely faked. Were it to show CNN or FoxNews, for example, this erroneous news report would be easy to verify. It is possible that the right-hand picture has the word “FOX” in blue, though this is not the logo used by the national FoxNews channel.

Donna Bruce?

A runner named Donna Bruce from Madison was interviewed by several news outlets that day, and it has been suggested that the photo on the right may include a caption during one of these interviews, and that perhaps photos of the Sandy Hook principal were shown for some reason during the interview. This has not been confirmed.

Donna Page?

Another theory claims that the current Sandy Hook principal, Donna Page may have been interviewed after the explosion, while an image of her predecessor was shown. Again, we haven’t found any corroborating source for this.

This is the image being circulated.

This is the image being circulated.

No “Donna” Victims

There were three people killed in the explosion, none of them named Donna.

Corroborating Evidence

So far the only evidence of this “mistake” is the sole photo being circulated. Corroborating screen shots or videos have not been produced.

Other Boston Bombing Info

Below is a compilation of related Boston Bombing articles.

Two assertions regarding the Boston Marathon Bombing range from government cover-up to outright hoax.

Glenn Beck

Conservative commentator Glenn Beck told viewers that the government was involved in a cover-up related to the Boston Bombing. He asserted that, “The government has not come clean,” regarding the bombing, and that a third bomber was in custody on April 15, but was released after high-level meetings between President Obama and Vice President Biden with the Saudi Arabian foreign minister and ambassador.

A response by Homeland Security stated that a Saudi national was injured in the bombing and another Saudi was in custody because he had violated his visa.

Below is video of an exchange between Republican Jeff Duncan and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano regarding this mysterious Saudi.

“Now we have someone who is being deported due to national security concerns and I’m assuming that he’s got some sort of link to terror or wouldn’t be being deported,” Duncan stated.

Napolitano responded, “I am unaware of anyone who is being deported for national security concerns at all related to Boston. I don’t know where that rumor came from.”

James Tracy

Florida Atlantic University James Tracy, who gained national attention when he questioned whether the Sandy Hook shooting was staged, brought up the hoax angle for the Boston Bombing. He claims the scene was a “mass-casualty drill” staged by actors and fake blood. He claims the lack of “bones and severed limbs” provides proof that something is amiss in images of the scene.

“The use of a wheelchair to aid and transport an individual with such severe injuries — who amazingly is still conscious and discharging little, if any blood — runs counter to common emergency medical procedure.”

Critics point out that Tracy teaches courses on conspiracy theories and has no medical training.

The mother of the bombing suspects agrees with Tracy. Zubeidat Tsarnaev told CNN, “Everyone’s talking about that this is a show, that’s what I want to know. That’s what I want to understand.” She also said that her sons were victims of being Muslim.


Bombing Suspect’s Family Received $100,000 in Welfare

The Boston Bombing suspects and family received over $100,000 in welfare over a 10-year period, the Boston Herald has reported.

The welfare received included cash, food stamps, and Section 8 housing. Over 500 documents relating to the matter have been handed over by the state to the House Post Audit and Oversight Committee, which is looking into the matter.

Committee chairman David Linsky stated, “I can assure members of the public that this committee will actively review every single piece of information we can find because clearly the public has a substantial right to know what benefits, if any, this family or individuals accused of some horrific crimes were receiving.”

It is being investigated whether or not the family notified the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) about an extended trip to Russia. The investigation will also include a complete history of all benefits received by the Tsarnaev family.

It was reported earlier that Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s benefits ended in 2012, and that neither of the brothers were receiving welfare at the time of the bombing, nor had they received any benefits over the past year. It has also been claimed that Tamerlan’s wife worked 80 hours a week while he stayed home.

Documents provided to the committee by the DTA have not been released publicly due to state law.

Source: Boston Herald

This graphic has circulated regarding welfare and the Boston Bombing suspects.

This graphic has circulated regarding welfare and the Boston Bombing suspects.

Bottom Line

Both photos are of the same woman, but there is no evidence such a news report occurred. Further, no one named Donna was killed at the Boston Marathon, as some versions of the hoax claim.

Article updated April 19, 2016

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