Rick Dyer, Matt Whitton, Tom Biscardi
"BIGFOOT IN A FREEZER HOAX"
August 15, 2008
PALO ALTO, Calif. — Two men claim they've bagged Bigfoot, and they say they have the hairy corpse of the legendary creature stored away in a freezer.
Policeman Matt Whitton and Rick Dyer say they stumbled across the corpse in the woods of northern Georgia, across the country from the remote regions of the Northwest where people usually claim to see the man-ape.
Still, the Georgia men say DNA from the creature could prove once and for all that the frozen creature is Sasquatch.
At a news conference Friday in Palo Alto, Calif., Whitton, Dyer and Tom Biscardi, head of a group called Searching for Bigfoot, presented what they called evidence supporting the Bigfoot theory. It was an e-mail from a University of Minnesota entomologist, saying one of the DNA samples that the men said they took from the corpse was "inconclusive," which could mean it didn't come from a known species.
They're not winning over any skeptics, though.
"What I've seen so far is not compelling in the least, and I think the pictures cast grave doubts on their claim," Jeffrey Meldrum, a Bigfoot researcher and Idaho State University professor, told the Scientific American. "It just looks like a costume with some fake guts thrown on top for effect."
Whitton, an police officer on medical leave from the Clayton County Police Department, and Dyer, used car salesman and a former corrections officer, announced the discovery in early July.
The picture they sent out in a news release and on their Web site — www.bigfoottracker.com — shows what appears to be a hairy corpse crammed into a chest freezer.
In one version, the animal was shot by a former felon, and the men followed it into the woods.
Biscardi defended the pair at Friday's news conference among skeptical reporters.
"Do you think these fellows would come this far and put their reputations and their jobs on the line if they didn't have what they say they have?" he said.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Reserve spokesman Tom Mackenzie, however, said officers also are not taking the claim seriously and will not investigate Bigfoot because it not a federal priority.
"It's not on endangered species on any list that we've got," Mackenzie said.
Not everyone is laughing.
In an exclusive interview with CNN affiliate WSB, the two hoaxers -- car salesman Rick Dyer and now-fired police officer Matt Whitton -- said the whole situation began as a joke and then got out of hand.
"It's just a big hoax, a big joke," Dyer said.
"It's Bigfoot," Dyer explained. "Bigfoot doesn't exist."
Whitton chimed in: "All this was a big joke. It got into something way bigger than it was supposed to be."
At a news conference in California with (Tom Biscardi) last week, the two men had stood by their claims that they had discovered Bigfoot's corpse and had it on ice. Scientific analysis would prove it, they said.
Now the two Georgia men admit that the hairy, icy blob was an Internet-purchased Sasquatch costume stuffed with possum roadkill and slaughterhouse leftovers.
Whitton and Dyer say that when they came up with the hoax, they had no idea it would become a media circus.
"It got legs and ran. It's crazy now," Dyer told WSB.
Co-hoaxer Matt Whitton agrees: "It started off as some YouTube videos and a Web site. We're all about having fun."
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