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.

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.

More Boston Bombing articles here.

Article updated April 18, 2013

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  • http://aztommycat.wordpress.com/ Tommycat

    You mean the one that had a massive hole in it as evidenced by the conversation on the fire radios? The one that fell at a pace consistent with the internal floors collapsing just after the penthouse collapsed in? You mean that Building 7? Oh wait, now you will come back with, “Hey, I’m just asking questions.” No, you’re spreading falsehoods

  • Lisa Henry

    It would explain the use of the photo

  • obloodyhell

    If you look closely at the “Fox” logo on the right, it rather clearly looks as though skewed differently from the caption.

  • George

    Mistake or now mistake the media should be held accountable there is no repercussions for giving wrong or misleading information how many of you after seeing this looked up the websites and found this article and then looked at another one they get money for site hits and stories read look how much money they made off a mistake odd don’t you think

  • waffles

    There is a certainly a resemblance between the first two, but those are very short clips. And resemblance is not “proof” that they are one in the same person. The third woman looks considerably different. A similar claim was made that the “same woman” was seen at three tragedies (see here). Those making that claim used similar photos of three different women. This looks much like the same thing, with very quick clips of the first two. One must wonder why the creator of that video didn’t put images of the women side by side.

    • obloodyhell

      Equally relevant is that it may, indeed, be a punking of the network interviewers which is in admittedly very bad taste.

      People do this all the time in less serious situations, like at any “event” (a line of people waiting for tickets to something, for example… or for the next Iphone release…. there’s at least one guy who’s famous for managing to get interviewed for light news filler pieces)

  • waffles

    And conspiracy theorists make a lot of money selling books based on nothing but conjecture. When proven wrong (see what has been removed from the original version of “Loose Change”), they’ll just come up with new “facts” to peddle.

  • A Person

    I know someone who was friends with the principal of Sandy Hook and attended the funeral. She’s dead. It honestly sickens me when people accuse these kids and adults of not being dead. It may have been an inside job, but guess what? They’re all dead.

  • AmericanPride

    Do you honestly think that they would be so stupid to say she was in Boston after she was killed in sandy hook? Even an Amish person could take that photo and put a new caption under it. How is this even an argument? Nowhere can you find a real news report with that picture and caption!! I’ve looked.It’s people like you guys that make Americans look like a bunch of idiots.

    • John Bearden

      Speaking of living down to Jonathon Gruber’s expectations, what about those Amerikan sports fans who blindly accept that an Arab student pilot, who couldn’t qualify to rent a single engine Cessna (true story…Google it) could pull off a flying feat that would seriously challenge an Ace combat pilot, even if he had a better aircraft than a 757?

  • DelbertG

    I am from Sandy Hook. And I have a lot of family and friends there. And I tell you this. The shooting never happened. I know it. My family knows it. And my friends know it. Believe what you want. But you will NEVER get the truth from mainstream media. Even our local news stations are liars. They are told what to report and its simple as that. Clearly much of the news is fabricated. Very little is real. Its the reason why the world always looks more screwed up on TV than in real life.

    • Andrew Fulton

      Don’t you mean you are from Newtown? Sandy Hook is the name of the school…

    • Nicole

      At least if you are going to lie, do a better job at it. Sandy Hook is not a city, it was the name of the school. As another poster pointed out, the victims of the Sandy Hook incident were from Newton. The only liar I see here is you; clearly what you are saying is fabricated. The news doesn’t make the world look more screwed up than it is; liars and crazies like you make it seem more screwed up.

      • tpmrussell

        At least if you are going to correct someone, know what the heck you are talking about. Sandy Hook is a village in the town of Newtown.

  • Jerr

    Am I the only one who realizes that the reason this meme is relevant is that the woman in the picture supposedly died at Sandy Hook Elementary, and somehow her face pops up during the Boston Bombing. The implication isn’t that she dies during the Bombing, it’s a question of why the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary showed up in the news after she was supposedly dead.

    Honestly I think the photo is photoshopped anyways. But it seems like a lot of people are missing the point entirely

    • waffles

      The Sandy Hook principal issue was discussed here.

  • Ericblair

    Simple questions require simple answers so in relation to Boston .
    How many people lost limbs?
    When you stop and think about it, it is a pretty simple question that America seems to default on.
    Nobody seen a dead body, WTF?
    Simple questions require simple answers.

    • waffles

      There are images of the deceased out there.

      • Iris W

        There is zip all about Sandy Hook on that page!

        • waffles

          That comment thread was discussing the Boston bombing.

  • Ericblair

    How many dead bodies did you witness? answer none.

    • waffles

      Those morbid “dead body” pictures do exist.

  • Lauren

    They probably just messed up with the photos. Fox also mistakenly identified actress Zooey Deschanel as the boston bomber at one point. Mistakes happen

  • steven

    If either the news or the government had the slightest credibility whatsoever, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    Even if the hoax claims related to this photo are false, we still have a massive problem… both the new and the gov’t lie so frequently that we must take claims (such as this photo) seriously and at least investigate them.

    That’s why we’re on this thread. That’s why Waffles carried this story in the first place.

    Don’t forget to look at the big picture here. Perhaps the tin foil crowd isn’t as nutty as we’d like to think.

  • Timothy Campbell

    “For the lulz” is adequate motivate for a LOT of people on the Internet. I’m surprised we haven’t seen MORE people throwing out hoaxes of this nature.

    If nothing else, this situation underlines just how distrustful people have become of authority. Considering how shady authority figures have been throughout history, that’s not entirely a bad thing.

  • doyourhomework

    Please just Google Donna page. The 2 pictures are of the sandy hook principal. They are showing a picture of the sandy hook principle while they’re doing a story on Donna page. You people are acting like the close minded sheep you like to claim everyone else is.

  • HerpaDerp_yall

    300+ million people in this country (not to mention the 6.7 billion outside) … and supposedly two of the most elaborate (and convoluted, mind you) “conspiracies” and the US government can’t think to use another “actor” or at the very least a different photo of the same person?!? Wow. Your intellectual prowess makes my brain sad. I bet you think your laces are trying to melt your brain when you have to tie your shoes…or are they Velcro only? If you like conspiracies, try this one on…did you know tin foil on your head causes cancer? /mind blown /trollface

    • waffles

      Which comment are you responding to?

  • Jaymania

    I do think there is something suspicious about the bombings but regarding this photo i think it is possible that fox news had her picture up because they were talking about: “The last mile of the Boston Marathon was dedicated to families of the Newtown shooting victims — and the honored families were seated in the VIP section of the race near where the explosions went off on April 15.” it is common for news channels to have banners with different story’s/headlines to what is being viewed.

    But i do not have any thoughts as to why there were suspicious men/agents located in the blast zone with identical bags to the one used in the bombings and then they left the blast zone just before the bombs went off. Also the two men blamed for carrying out the bombings are pictured running away with the crowd just after the explosions still wearing their backpacks??? Can anyone explain this to me????

  • Deb

    Point black, believie it. I feel it dont make since, if she died way back then why is it she was a few blocks away. I could have sworn she had got killed r.i.p to her. I believe in strange things, but she was at both and both times at the wrong place at the wrong time.

  • Thatoneguy

    They are the exact same picture because they both have the exact same picture frame, smile and everything. they just changed the banner

  • Christy319

    A little off topic but the picture USA Today ran on their front page the day after the bombing is clearly faked to a degree. Clearly. It can’t be disputed. With all the press from around the world it seems inconceivable they couldn’t have come up with a real picture worth printing.

    • waffles

      What was depicted in the image? We’d like to see that.

  • waffles

    Actually no conclusions have been made, and there is a suggestion that it was created in the manner you suggest. Until absolute proof is found, all options should be explored.

    Your comment reminds me of a photo we posted last year. A similarly angry comment was posted about how “obviously Photoshopped it was…” and it turns out that it was real.

    • waffles

      I didn’t realize this website held such importance to our country. Thanks for your comment.

      • obloodyhell

        His point is, granted, hyperbole, but it’s not an invalid concern, either.

        Whenever some Great Big Event like the bombing or sandy hook occurs — or even something like the “government shutdown”, it’s not a bad idea to look at what may be getting slipped under the rug.

        An example of this was how the final federal reports about Waco and Ruby Ridge occurred during the middle of the Clinton Impeachment trial.

  • HH17

    It was probably a simple mistake of some sort. They shouldn’t happen in news reports, but they do.

  • cory

    Donna is the replacement principal of sandy hook who came out of retirement. She was at the marathon because it was partially for the sandy hook victims this year. The banner was up during the news story of donna being close to the blasts. someone screen grabbed the photo of dawn, the previous principal. No hoax, just bad info.

    • waffles

      Do you have info as to where that story was aired?

    • Eric

      Is anybody laying favorites on Nancy Lanza returning as Kindergarten teacher?
      Certainly not trusting media sources at this time, purveyors of democide that they are…

  • Mike

    Come on sheep, the woman is the mother of one if the victims not someone that was killed. She and many other sandy hook parents, teachers and students attended the marathon, it’s a hoax and I’m surprised no other tool understands that she was not killed in the sandy hook shooting , one of her kids was, get your heads out of the clouds

  • random

    It’s possible for anybody to add any color banner they choose using something as basic as MS Paint.

  • Bbreal

    Sandy Hook was exagerated by the government to take guns away from citizens. They used actors to portray the some of the dead. Then they recycled some for the Boston Marathon. Soon they will try to make all citizens worth more than 7 chemicals in their home terrorists trying to make bombs. Why has no one heard anything about the Sandy Hook thing since?

    • bri

      How insane are you???

      What psychological issues have you been diagnosed with that you are not treating???

      What meds did you stop taking without a doctor’s advice??

  • waffles

    The Donna Bruce angle is just one theory as to where the name “Donna” may have come from in actual news reports, if that’s actually where the graphic originated.

  • CS

    If it was a simple mistake, why did fox pull it from their website?

    • waffles

      Was it ever on their website?

  • Brody

    I don’t know… I happen to know from experience that news channels mix their media up all the time. I have watched multiple stories where they actually used the wrong pictures for the story. I think it’s likely that this picture was mistakenly put on the news. If this was a hoax, they would’ve done a way better job covering it up.

    • waffles

      Good point. Today has been a pretty good example of how bad journalism can be. We had MSNBC saying no arrests had been made and Fox reporting that there had, virtually at the same time.

  • Anyone

    The blue banner doesn’t say she DIED. it says she was a few blocks away…

    • waffles

      As stated, a popular caption being included with the graphic did say she died:

      “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?”

  • kasey

    No one said Donna died it said she was a few blocks away

    • waffles

      A version of this graphic with over 40,000 shares claimed in the caption (not the graphic) that she had died.

  • Ashley

    This is seriously just some ”citizen” that wants to get a rise out of others by making this claim. To fall for this is simply moronic. When someone can produce an actual video, with an actual report, with a news station backing it up, then and only then, will I begin to consider that this is anything but a hoax.

    • Pat

      You are a moron. You conspiracy theorists don’t even realize that your arguments are in direct conflict with one and other. The Government is smart enough to pull off a calculated murder of innocent civilians and get away with it but then they’re also stupid enough to allow a photo from another obe of their coverups make its way on a TV?

      • Brandon Broussard

        Maybe so well have something to preoccupy our mind while they plan and attempt something else while we’re too busy focused on this nonsense . Use your imagination, maybe you might figure something out actually ..

    • corinne

      Well said. I would like to add that I am so sick of seeing comments like…if the government is so smart blah blah then why would they be stupid enough not to cover their tracks blah blah blah…” the government could give two craps if they are exposed. They have been messing with us for forever. Throwing it right in front of faces is just one of the many ways they like to get their rocks off.

    • bri

      I didnt realize that only news organizations can take pics.

      I was under the impression that 95% of american adults own a cellphone with a camera.

      If she was alive and at the marathon there would have been people that noticed and took her picture, and those pics would be circulating on the net.

      The fact that there are NO PICTURES OF HER BEING AT THE MARATHON seems to indicate that she is worm food just like she has been since she was shot and killed.

    • Stacy

      The one thing that gets me is the lay out of the drive way at Sandy Hook. The first responders on the scene are running past an almost V shaped curb. That curb is NOT on Sandy Hook property!!! The media claimed the law officers are running in to that school yet that is not on school property. It is a video of a different school 14 miles away apparently.

  • Anon

    @DocNonstop- you do know what ‘photoshopping’ is correct? Also, even if they did show it, the Boston Marathon was honoring the Sandy Hook incident and families from the town were there. So they could have very well simply been talking about that.

  • Heather

    It does not say Donna was killed, it said she was blocks away… so why are you going by the names of the dead victims?

    • waffles

      Read the caption we included at the beginning of the article. The graphic does not make this claim, but many circulating it have.

      “This lady supposedly died in the elementary school shooting & apparently died again in the bombing at Boston.”

  • Dontworryaboutit

    You know that the red and blue are different reports, and different channels, right? One is cnn the other is fox. Both the same person, who died two different days. Where is the real evidence? Oh, and it never said that she died the second time, just that she was a rew blocks away. Talk about a set up. Either way, America is crippled by it’s low intellect, and the people that it is run by.

    • waffles

      1. Fox uses both blue and red (Google image search “fox news”), but no screen shots or videos exist of this report, nor can any be found on either network.

      2. The caption being circulated with the photo does claim she died in both events: “This lady supposedly died in the elementary school shooting & apparently died again in the bombing at Boston.”

      • Dontworryaboutit

        Did the news report say that she died? No. It said that she was a few blocks away. I do understand that the caption said that, but it was an assumption. However, I do believe that it could have been a mistake if it were actually on the news, but I dont really pay attention. All I know the is that every form of government will abuse the power that they hold to corrupt the minds of their citizens.

        • waffles

          We still haven’t seen evidence that the right-hand image even shows a real news report. If it was, it’s entirely possible they were interviewing Donna Bruce and showed a picture of the principal. Again, that is purely conjecture at this point.

          • chambersvmalone

            I saw it with my own eyes!!!

          • waffles

            Where did you see it?

    • bri

      You realize that you are ASSUMING that Dawn was at the boston marathon despite ZERO pictures of her being there???

      The second picture IS THE SAME as the first picture, just used with a different caption.

      If i took your picture and then put a caption underneath it saying: boston marathon bomber, would that mean that you are one of the boston marathon bombers???? Of course not.

      If there was an actual picture of her BEING at the marathon then you would have something to stand on, but if all there is a normal picture of her smiling for the camera and it has a false caption underneath then ALL IT IS is a picture with a false caption.

      And do you really think this person could go walk around without people recognizing she was the principal from sandy hook? Of course not.

      The odds of her being at the marathon are worse than your odds of winning the lottery, yet you are acting like it MUST be her.

      America is crippled by its low intellect, and you are a big part of the problem

    • obloodyhell

      Grammar/Spelling Nazis are generally being boorish in many cases, but are ALWAYS acceptable when one makes such an error while insulting someone else’s intellectual prowess.

  • DocNonstop

    While I too believe this to be a hoax, it does say “FOX” in the bottom banner (in blue, beneath byline)…

    • waffles

      It could be that the blue blob says “FOX.” This is not how FoxNews displays their logo in their ticker, however.

      • brian

        This is clearly a hoax. The government will pass laws taking away more freedom from the ignorant populace. The media that is under government control, will coarse everyone to think a certain way. Just like we all wave the banner of freedom. I guess our troops are not fighting hard enough. They are fighting for freedom right? If that’s true, why are we losing so much of it? Can anyone with a little brain activity answer that one?

        • waffles

          Why is it “clearly” a hoax when most people don’t believe that sentiment?

  • Lauren

    They altered the phone to correlate to the eyewitness account of Donna Bruce of Madison.

  • John Baker

    Actually, he’s just being sarcastic.

  • http://aztommycat.wordpress.com/ Tommycat

    Building 7 had massive structural damage done to it. The side facing toward the location of the twin towers had a giant hole in it and firefighters on scene have actually said that it looked as if a quarter of the building had been scooped out. Damage to the Southwest side was far more extensive than let on by the conspiracy theorists. And the architects that you claim are in support are not. Most of them are not structural engineers. AIA never has nor will it ever endorse the crap spewed by AE 911 truth

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