Two Georgia men who claimed to have had the 500-pound body of a Bigfoot stored in a freezer for the past two months have been exposed as fakes who froze a hairy rubber costume filled with animal parts, Searching for Bigfoot Inc. founder Tom Biscardi said Tuesday.
Matthew Whitton, a police officer on administrative leave since he was shot in the hand, and Rick Dyer, a former correctional officer, appeared in a crowded news conference at a Palo Alto hotel Friday and said they had hiked into secluded Northern Georgia woods for a camping trip in June and found the creature dead near a stream.
Whitton also said he and Dyer spotted three other large, bipedal, apelike creatures walking about 50 feet from them.
Biscardi initially supported the men, introducing them at the conference and enthusiastically backing their claims.
During the news conference, Biscardi confidently said, “They do have the body.”
Biscardi, who said there are between 3,500 and 7,000 Bigfoot creatures in North America, added that when he was first shown the reported Bigfoot body, “It was a euphoric experience for me. I was in shock.”
However, Biscardi's Menlo Park-based company today featured a statement on its Web site, www.searchingforbigfoot.com, revealing the internationally publicized hoax perpetrated by Whitton and Dyer.
Steve Kulls, executive director of Squatchdetective.com and host of Squatchdetective Radio, and Bob Schmalzbach, vice president of Searching for Bigfoot Inc., wrote the post, which outlines the timing of a financially motivated trick carried out by Whitton and Dyer.
Kulls says in the post that Biscardi received what the men told him was a DNA sample from the body Aug. 1 after becoming involved with the alleged Bigfoot discovery at the behest of Whitton and Dyer. The DNA results, released at the news conference, were inconclusive, with one result suggesting the creature was an opossum.
Biscardi confirmed the post was written by his associates, and said Whitton and Dyer requested money as a sign of good faith before giving over the body.
The men allegedly received the money Thursday and Dyer insisted on holding the news conference Friday, Biscardi said.
Searching for Bigfoot then confirmed the hoax Sunday as they thawed the frozen body.
“As the team and I began examining this area near the feet, I observed the foot which looked unnatural, reached in and confirmed it was a rubber foot,” Kulls said in the Web post.
Whitton and Dyer reportedly admitted the whole discovery was a trick, but left town Sunday and have not answered their phones since, Biscardi said.
“We have been victimized here. I gotta tell you, its just disgusting,” said Biscardi, who said Searching for Bigfoot discovered Tuesday that Whitton and Dyer filled the frozen costume with animal bones and placed a donkey tongue on the mouth of the costume to make it appear authentic.
Whitton and Dyer, who remained straight-faced and adamant about their discovery during Friday's event, began a Web site some time after they allegedly found the Bigfoot corpse. The site, http://www.bigfoottracker.com, was down Friday and up and running again today, offering $499 Bigfoot tracking trips.
The site's Bigfoot tip line was also not working Friday, but was functioning again Tuesday. The message left on the line was far from serious.
After asking callers to leave Bigfoot tips, the message adds, “We have newly expanded our operation to also search for leprechauns and the Loch Ness monster. We are also looking for the Chupacabra if anyone knows where he might be. Also large cats and dinosaurs. If you see any of those, leave a message.”
Biscardi, who said he believes Whitton and Dyer are guilty of fraud and breach of contract, said attorneys will handle the situation and work to retrieve the money given to the men. Biscardi said he also plans to seek damages and a public apology.
“This has been my passion for 37 year, and here I am thinking we are coming to the end of the quest,” he said.
–Bay City News Service