Friday, June 10, 2011

At Least They Are Quoting A Different Psychic

After originally running with a story that Liberty County, Texas Police were knee deep in dismembered bodies, the New York Times is now reporting that most law enforcement agencies don't use psychics to solve crimes.

This comes as a welcome relief given that the NY Times stoked the media frenzy with this post on their Twitter account:

NYT NEWS ALERT: Up to 30 Dismembered Bodies Found Near Houston, Reuters Reports

According to the latest bit from the Old Gray Lady, they quote a different psychic who said this:
“My first feeling was that something did happen,” Ms. Mari said, “but I didn’t see a bunch of bodies laying around or dismembered.” Besides, she added, “I would never call the police department and say, ‘Hey, I’m a psychic and I know what’s what.’ ”

Well, at least they quoted a more reputable psychic in their follow up piece. In spite of using a headline that implies that Texas cops regularly use psychics, buried near the end of the story is a reasonable explanation from the Liberty County cops as to why they did what they did:

In Texas, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Wednesday that it was still trying to identify the woman who called in the anonymous tip, claiming that she was psychic and that up to 30 bodies, including those of children, were buried on the property in Hardin. When officers investigated, they found blood on a fence and smelled what they thought might be rotting bodies, the statement said. But after a search warrant was obtained, there were far less gruesome explanations for both — the odor was apparently from rotting meat.

Judge Craig McNair of Liberty County said that he was skeptical about psychics, but that the sheriff’s department was obliged to investigate the tip and to search further once the blood and the bag were found.

Law enforcement is required to investigate claims such as this, even if it sounds pretty outlandish. At my office I have a whole file dedicated to these types of "tips". If anyone got "punked" in this episode, it's probably the media who ran with this prior to getting all the facts. Maybe they should have called the other psychic first.

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