Home Fake-News No, a Family Did NOT Drown After Leaving Their Car Sunroof Open in an Automated Carwash

No, a Family Did NOT Drown After Leaving Their Car Sunroof Open in an Automated Carwash

by Brett M. Christensen

Report claims that a family of three died from drowning after they mistakenly left the sunroof of their car open as they went through an automated carwash.

Brief Analysis:
Thankfully, the story is untrue. No such deaths have been reported by any reliable source. The bogus report comes from the notorious fake-news website Empire News. Nothing published on the site should be taken seriously.

Family Drowns After Leaving Sunroof Open In Automated Carwash

A family of three died yesterday after inadvertently leaving their sunroof open when going through an automated carwash. Mary and Roger Jones, both 32, and their daughter, Julie, 11, were all killed after the car filled with water.

Family Drowns Car Wash Fake-News

Detailed Analysis:
According to a report that is currently making its way around the interwebs, a family of three have died in a tragic carwash accident at a town called Darwin, in Mississippi.  The report claims that a couple and their eleven-year-old daughter drowned while going through an automatic carwash because they inadvertently left the sunroof open. Supposedly, hot soapy water poured in through the sunroof, filling the car and drowning the hapless occupants. The report features a photograph of a carwash with a police car parked outside.

But, I’m glad to report that no such tragedy has occurred. No Darwin, Mississippi family has suffered death by carwash as claimed. In fact, as far as I can ascertain there IS no Darwin, Mississippi. And, there are no credible news articles that confirm the story in any way.  The photograph used in the report is taken from a 2013 news article about a robbery at a carwash in Yonkers, New York.

The bogus story comes via the notorious fake-news website Empire News. Empire news, which apparently considers itself as satirical, is responsible for a series of nonsensical ‘news’ reports, including a viral story that claimed that the body of a homeless man was identified as that of Elvis Presley and another that tried to convince readers that Professor Hinkley from Gilligan’s Island was actually the infamous Zodiac Killer.

The site includes the following disclaimer on its About page:

Empire News is intended for entertainment purposes only. Our website and social media content uses only fictional names, except in cases of public figure and celebrity parody or satirization. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

For the record, the use of the town name ‘Darwin’ in the report is probably intended as a sly reference to the Darwin Awards in which an  – often posthumous – honour is  bestowed on ‘individuals who have supposedly contributed to human evolution by selecting themselves out of the gene pool via death or sterilization by their own actions’.

A great many fake-news websites have appeared online in recent years, and, between them, they manage to churn out a constant stream of driveling nonsense tricked up as news. It is thus a good idea to verify any strange or unusual stories that hit your social media feeds or inboxes before you share – or believe – them.

Last updated: March 22, 2016
First published: March 22, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

Family Drowns After Leaving Sunroof Open In Automated Carwash
Empire News – About / Disclaimer
Yonkers Car Wash Robbed, Three In Custody
Fake News Claims Body of Homeless Man Identified as Elvis Presley
FAKE-NEWS: ‘Professor Hinkley From Gilligan’s Island is Zodiac Killer’
Wikipedia – Darwin Awards
Identifying Fake-News Articles and Websites


Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,