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Bigfoot hoax doesn't sell on eBay

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The bogus Bigfoot body, the rubber suit used in a big hoax, has been abandoned in an anonymous, Indiana storage shed.

An attempt to sell it on eBay, as a potential tourist attraction, has failed.

The winning bidder, offering $250,000 for the "Bigfoot Hoax & Body Display," turned out to be a fraud, according to Joshua P. Warren, the North Carolina hoax investigator who was selling the costume.

The winning bidder used a "snipping program," and didn't have any intention of paying up at the end of the auction. Other, legitimate bidders, given a second chance to purchase the hoax body, backed out, Warren said.

"This auction coincided perfectly with the international economic crisis," Warren said. "There were lots of legit bidders, but when I went back to them and said, 'Are you still interested,' they were all having second thoughts about it."

Warren was acting as a middleman, in his attempt to auction off the artifact from what has been said to be the Bigfoot hoax of the century. The sale would have refunded an Indiana businessman who invested $50,000 into what he was told was an actual Bigfoot body. It also may have cleared two of the hoaxers, former Clayton County Police Officer Matthew Whitton and former corrections officer Rick Dyer. The Indiana man, William Lett, has threatened to press charges and sue the two Clayton County men, though his financial arrangements were with the third hoaxer, "Bigfoot find" promoter Tom Biscardi.

According to a police report filed by Lett, Biscardi asked for a $50,000 loan and promised to pay Lett $75,000 in 90 days. Lett drove down from Indiana with a trailer, met Dyer and Whitton in the Clayton County Courthouse parking lot, late at night, and paid them $50,000 in cash for what turned out to be a frozen costume stuffed with animal parts.

The Clayton County men's claims to have the corpse of the legendary man-ape captured international attention, with the help of Biscardi's media savvy. The hoax fell apart in about a week, though, when some of the faked evidence leaked too soon and the hoaxers didn't come up with anything to "shock the world," as promised.

The two Clayton men allegedly took their bundle of cash and stopped answering their cell phones, leaving Lett with a loss.

Lett told Warren he wouldn't sue if he got his money back, and the auction could have concluded the story with a solution suited to everyone's interests. The attempt to let the market create a solution failed, though, and it's not clear how this will end.

"I think they're kind of back where they started," Warren said. "Unless something truly remarkable happens, I think we'll see this ridiculous saga go to the courts."

As of Monday, no lawsuit had been filed and no criminal charges were being brought. Neither Lett, nor the lawyer representing Whitton and Dyer, returned calls seeking comment on Monday.

The rubber suit, originally made as a Halloween costume, is now stashed in a shed near Eaton, Ind., not worth anything, yet too costly to just throw away.