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Yolanda Bear Prayer Request

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email requests prayers for Yolanda Bear and her family. The message claims that family lost two daughters to the Virginia Tech massacre, one in the shooting itself and another in a drive-way accident as they were leaving their home for Virginia after the shooting.


Status:
False

Example:
Subject: FW: Fw: Urgent prayer request

Hi all,

I just got off the phone with a sweet friend that is going through some major hard circumstances right now (of her own). However, she just found out that one of her best friends in San Antonio, Yolanda Bear, had a daughter at Virginia Tech that was killed yesterday. Yolanda, her husband and eight year old daughter managed to get an emergency flight out to Virginia and were trying to hurry to get loaded up and go to the airport. In the midst of backing the car in the driveway her husband accidentally ran over their 8 year old daughter and she died as well. Yolanda is in hospital under sedation at the moment. Don’t know about the husband. My friend is trying to get down there to be with her asap but, as I said, has her hands full of difficulties herself here at home and feels very helpless! I would appreciate your prayers for this family. They are believers. My friend had the privilege of leading the student at Tech to the Lord in 2 nd grade. My heart just breaks for them.

Cammy or Becky, if you could pass this on to our church contacts, that would be great.

Hug your family!

Heather



Detailed Analysis:
This email claims that a San Antonio Texas family endured a double tragedy after first losing a daughter to the Virginia Tech shooting and then backing over and killing a second daughter when leaving for the airport.

However, it appears that the message may be nothing more than a cruel hoax. There are no news reports confirming such an incident in Texas or elsewhere. Such a tragic accident would have almost certainly been reported, at least by local news outlet in San Antonio. In fact, the story has been denounced as an Internet hoax in an article on WOAI.com, A San Antonio News resource. The article notes:

We have been unable to substantiate the claim in this email. There have been no reports in San Antonio about a family backing over and killing its eight-year-old child. None of the Virginia Tech victims were named “Bear” – and none were reported as being from Texas.

Writers of an April 18 San Antonio Express-News article were similarly unable to verify the claims in the email. According to the article, an examination of Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office records revealed no recent death matching the incident described in the message.

A perusal of the full list of Virginia Tech victims confirms the above findings. As stated, no victims had a surname of “Bear” or had Texas listed as their home state.

The message claims to be a “prayer request”, probably as a ruse to entice recipients into forwarding it on.


Last updated: 25th April 2007
First published: 20th April 2007
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Internet Hoax: Parents of Murdered Virginia Tech Co-Ed Back Over 8-Year-Old
E-mail story about VT victim’s S.A. ties unverifiable
Lives Lost – Lives Shattered | ABCNews.com

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