10 People Who Faked Their Own Deaths

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to disappear and start over with a new life? Would people miss you? And how would you do it? Some people are ready to do anything for a fresh start, even faking their own deaths 10) LAWRENCE JOSEPH BADER: Lawrence Joseph Bader, also known as Larry Badera, was a cookware salesman from Akron, Ohio On the morning of March 15th 1957, Larry disappeared on a fishing trip on Lake Erie His boat was found the next day with minor damage caused by a storm, while Larry, who had $20,000 of debts, was nowhere to be found Four days later, a man called John Johnson, nicknamed “Fritz”, walked into a bar in Omaha, Nebraska, asking for a job

His sparkling personality made him immediately popular Soon, his popularity led him to become a radio announcer and TV sports director at KETV-7 However, Johnson’s glamorous life was disrupted in 1964, when he discovered he had a tumour on his left eye, that he had surgically removed, leaving him with an eye patch In February 1965, Johnson bumped into Suzanne Peika, who, despite all the years and the eye patch, immediately recognised him as her long-lost uncle Larry Bader Further police investigations confirmed Johnson’s real identity

It appeared, though, that Bader couldn’t remember his past life, which aroused the interest of many psychiatrists, who examined Bader for weeks Unfortunately, Bader died on September 16th 1966, before they could determine with certainty whether he was an amnesiac or a fraud 9) JOHN STONEHOUSE: During the 1960s John Stonehouse rose rapidly within the British Labour Party For a time, he was even considered a contender to be a future Prime Minister However, his personal businesses ran up huge debts, and in 1974 he disappeared while on holiday, leaving behind only his clothes on a beach in Miami, and his wife Barbara to mourn

Then, authorities noticed large sums of Stonehouse’s money had been transferred to two of his constituents – both of whom were already dead Investigators found that Stonehouse had assumed two identities and fled to Australia with his secretary, Sheila Buckley They arrested him on December 24th, 1974 Then, in 1979, the British government learned from a Cold War defector that Stonehouse had been a paid Czech spy since 1962, providing secrets to the Soviets about government plans However, the evidence was insufficient to start a trial and, since Stonehouse was already serving seven years for fraud and theft, no prosecution was made

8) JACQUOTTE DELAHAYE (jack-OTT de-LE): Jacquotte Delahaye would have been one of the very few 17th-century female pirates According to the legends, Jacquotte was born in Saint-Domingue in modern Haiti Her mother died in childbirth while her father was brutally murdered when she was just a young girl, which drove her into piracy In no time, she conquered the Caribbean seas, and soon a price was put on her head To escape both her male counterparts and the authorities, Jacquotte faked her own death and lived as a man for years

However, her astonishing beauty and bright red hair easily gave her away So she came back, known as Back From The Dead Red, and quickly regained the command of hundreds of bandits Unfortunately, there’s no hard evidence that Jacquotte Delahaye was actually a real person Some even attribute her adventures to French fiction writer Leon Treich 7) NAZARIO MORENO GONZÁLEZ (na-SA-rio mo-RE-no gon-SA-les): Nazario Moreno González, also referred to as El Chayo (el CHA-yo), ""The Rosary"", was a Mexican drug lord who led La Familia Michoacana (la fa-ME-lee-a me-cho-a-KA-na) and the Knights Templar Cartel

He was one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords On December 9th 2010, González was in the town of El Alcalde (el al-cal-de) when he was tracked down by the authorities As police troops drove into town, La Familia gunmen surrounded the city to prevent police from receiving reinforcements Battle began and lasted about two days, during which the government reported that they managed to kill González, but that La Familia took his body away With no corpse to prove the police's claim, rumours spread that he was still alive

The rumours consolidated in 2014, when the government admitted that González was possibly injured, but not killed As it turned out, for four years, the drug lord took advantage of the government's mistake to avoid police attention and lead his cartel from the shadows Finally, on March 9th 2014, Mexican authorities located him again, in the town of Tumbiscatío (tum-bees-ca-TEA-o) and this time the gunfight ended with González's death, confirmed by the forensic examination 6) KAYCEE NICOLE SWENSON: Kaycee Nicole Swenson’s story goes far beyond faking her own death She appeared on CollegeClub

com in 1999 as a teenage Kansas basketball star who quickly made friends with both users and staff at the site and, in 2000, revealed to Randall van der Woning she was suffering from leukaemia Van der Woning was sympathetic to Kaycee's situation and in August 2000 set up the Living Colours blog, where Kaycee narrated her cancer fight In April 2001, Kaycee posted on the blog that her medical conditions were getting worse Worried, Van der Woning insistently asked Kaycee to allow him to visit her But, before he could make his trip, on May 15th 2001, he received a call from Kaycee’s mum, Debbie, informing him her daughter had died the day before

Kaycee’s death went public on May 16th and shortly after her online friends discovered that she had never actually existed In 1998, Debbie Swenson’s real daughter, Kelli Burke, created the online persona of Kaycee Nicole with a group of her middle school friends, but they never did anything with the fake identity Kaycee only became an active hoax when Debbie discovered her and, instead of promptly put an end to it, she began playing Kaycee online This is a rare, weird case where a fake death turned out to be the real end of a fake person 5) JUAN PUJOL GARCIA(huan pu-IOL gar-SIA): Juan Pujol Garcia was a veteran of the Spanish Civil War who detested both the communist and fascist totalitarian regimes When Britain joined World War II, he created a false identity as a fanatical pro-Nazi and successfully became a German agent He was instructed to travel to Britain and recruit additional agents Instead, he began to send fabricated information to the Nazis and became a double-agent

When the war ended, Pujol continued to work for MI5 to investigate whether Germany had any plans to resurrect the regime Then, in 1949, fearing reprisals from surviving Nazis, he moved to Angola and faked his death from malaria with the help of MI5 While the rumours of his death spread, Pujol moved to Venezuela, where he lived under a secret identity until the 1980s, when British writer Nigel West looked into his life and worked out he hadn’t really died West tracked down Pujol, who came out of hiding and returned to Europe to reconnect with his ex-wife, and eventually died in 1988 4) RUSSELL PACKMAN: Carole Packman disappeared in Bournemouth in England in 1985

She appeared to have left only a note, which, according to her daughter Sam stated that “she’d had enough, that she’d decided to leave and wouldn’t be coming back” Sam reported that Carole had become greatly stressed and anxious when her husband Russell brought in a young woman, Patricia Causley, with whom he was openly having an affair This sounded pretty plausible to police and the case was dismissed But in 1993, Russell Packman disappeared during a yacht trip along the coast of Guernsey After days spent looking for him, the police became suspicious when a man called Mr Russell booked a boat from Guernsey back to the mainland

Additionally, the fact that his partner, Patricia, had lodged a claim for a massive life insurance payout, convinced the police something didn’t add up By following Patricia’s steps, detectives found Russell, who turned out to be very much alive They convicted him for fraud In prison, Russell confessed to his cellmates that Carole hadn’t just disappeared in 1985, he had killed her However, he never revealed the whereabouts of his wife’s body

3) ARKADY BABCHENKO(ar-ka-dy bab-chen-ko): Arkady Babchenko is a Russian journalist and vocal critic of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin On May 29th 2018, international media reported that Babchenko had been shot dead in his Kiev apartment Police immediately stated that Babchenko could have been killed as a reprisal for his critical journalist work against the government To everyone’s surprise, the next day, Babchenko appeared alive and in perfect condition on live Ukrainian television at a press conference held by the Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU Babchenko revealed he had collaborated with the SBU for a month

Together they staged his own murder to expose Russian agents who had assassinated vocal critics of Vladimir Putin, journalist Pavel Sheremet and politician Denis Voronenkov, in Kiev in 2016 The plan worked On May 31st, the Ukrainian court remanded Borys Herman in custody for allegedly having paid a professional hitman, following the news of Babchenko's death However, Herman said that he had nothing to do with the assassination and the trial is still ongoing, so we can only hope time will tell the truth 2) AUDREY MARIE HILLEY: Audrey Marie Frazier married Frank Hilley on May 8th 1951

The couple had two children, Mike and Carol In May 1975, Frank began suffering from nausea and pain in his abdomen He was hospitalized and subsequently diagnosed with infectious hepatitis He died in the early morning of May 25th In the blink of an eye, Audrey Hilley redeemed the $31,140 of Frank’s life insurance policy

Three years later, Audrey took out a $25,000 life insurance policy on her daughter Carol and, as it happened for her husband, the girl began experiencing trouble with nausea and was hospitalized several times Luckily before Carol followed her father's fate, on October 3rd 1979, tests by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, revealed that both Frank and Carol had been poisoned with arsenic over a long period Audrey was arrested and, on November 9th 1979 released on bail The following day she disappeared The ensuing FBI launched manhunt lasted more than three years

She travelled to Florida, where she met and married John Homan In the late Summer of 1982, she told her new husband she needed to attend family business in Texas and left On the trip, she called him and told him that his wife had died, but there was no need for him to come to Texas because her body had been donated to medical science In November, after changing her hair colour and losing weight, she returned to New Hampshire and introduced herself to Homan as his deceased wife’s sister, Teri Martin Meanwhile, newspapers published an obituary for Robbi Homan and, unable to verify any of the information contained in the obituary, police grew suspicious

They theorized that Teri Martin was Robbi Homan and when they brought her in, she confessed her real identity of Audrey Hilley Audrey went to jail in 1983 but in 1987, while on a three-day pass from prison for good behaviour, she disappeared Police found her four days later, crawling in the woods and suffering hypothermia She suffered a heart attack and died 1) JOHN DARWIN: John and Anne Darwin ran into debt after purchasing two houses in Seaton Carew, in northeast England, in December 2000

On March 21st 2002, John was seen paddling out to sea in his canoe at Seaton Carew Later the same day, he was reported missing While everyone assumed he was dead, John lived for a while in a bedsit next to his home Then, in February 2003, he moved back in with his wife In the meantime, a death certificate was issued and Anne claimed his life insurance

From 2004 the Darwins began travelling abroad, looking for a new country to settle in In 2007, the couple purchased a £200,000 tropical estate in Panama, intending to build a hotel there A Panamanian property agent posted a picture of them on the Internet On December 1st 2007, John walked into the West End Central police station in London, claiming to have no memory of the past five years His wife Anne expressed surprise and joy at the return of her missing husband

But a police financial investigation had already begun in September, following a tip from one of Anne's colleagues, who overheard a phone conversation between the couple The Darwins' cover story finally unravelled after the Daily Mirror published the photo the couple took in Panama in 2006 It turned out that John had returned to England because he missed his sons On July 23rd 2008, John Darwin and Anne Darwin were both convicted of fraud

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