FACT CHECK: Were Hundreds Of Bodies Found Buried In Naples, Florida?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An Instagram post claims a Florida millionaire named Jerry Richards admitted to burying hundreds of bodies on his property in Naples, Florida after being arrested by police.

 

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Verdict: False

There is no evidence to suggest Richards is real or that hundreds of bodies were discovered in Naples. The claim stems from a website that says its content is strictly for entertainment purposes.

Fact Check:

The Instagram post says police arrested the 73-year-old Richards at his home in Naples after a neighbor spotted him burying a body in his backyard. Richards supposedly revealed to law enforcement that more than 700 bodies were buried on the property, with police allegedly recovering 587 so far.

“Based on the remains we have found so far, Richards has been murdering and burying bodies in his yard for over 35 years,” reads an alleged quote from Naples Police Chief Robert Thomas included in the Instagram post’s caption. (RELATED: Does This Video Show People Posing As COVID-19 Fatalities ‘For The News’?)

The story appears to be fabricated. Richards is not listed in the Collier County Sheriff’s Office database of recorded arrests and active warrants, nor is he mentioned on the city of Naples’ website. Neither the sheriff’s office nor the Naples Police Department has issued a press release or social media post announcing such an arrest.

There are likewise no credible news reports of hundreds of bodies being discovered in Naples. Check Your Fact searched local news outlets, such as the Naples Daily News, but found no record of Richards or such a grisly discovery being made in the area. The rumor previously circulated in 2019.

“We have no record of this occurring,” Jennifer Tate, a spokesperson for the Naples Police Department, told Check Your Fact via email, redirecting the outlet to the Snopes claim debunking the rumor.

The claim appears to have originated with a June 2018 article published on the website Empire News. The website’s “disclaimer” page states the site “is intended for entertainment purposes only” and uses “only fictional names, except in cases of public figure and celebrity parody or satirization.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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