An Ohio couple is in hot water after staging a bathtub murder using ketchup and disseminating pictures of the grisly scene to family members.
Sandusky police were dispatched to the home of Nataleigh Schlette and Micah Risner Thursday night to investigate reports of a homicide and quickly determined that the couple had faked the murder.
“Hysterical” family members and friends had dialed 911 after seeing text messages of the phony murder scene and believing it was real.
“She got into the bathtub and they put ketchup all over to make it look like he murdered her,” Sandusky police Sgt. Dawn Allen said. “He started sending the picture and texting that he did it.”
Photos of the gruesome scene can be seen at the Daily Mail.
Allen said that the prank may have seemed funny at the time, but it was no joke from a law enforcement perspective.
“We had three people calling in hysterical, not knowing what was going on,” she noted.
The couple is facing misdemeanor charges for inducing panic.
Risner posted this picture on Facebook of the scene outside of his house the night of his prank:
Risner tried to explain himself on Facebook, saying that his sister was in on the joke, but his “mentally unstable mother” didn’t believe it even though she was told it was just ketchup.
“It was an honest prank and anyone that knows the real me knows I could never hurt a woman,” he said. The prankster also blamed his mother for going straight to the police instead of checking with him first, saying that she’s the one who “induced the panic.”
“As soon as we disclosed the prank to them, about 2 minutes later our house was swarmed by police,” he said. “I didn’t call the police and waste their time. My mother did. I understand that the prank got out of hand. It did go a bit too far.”
He added, “I’ve always been a jokester and a prankster. My whole family can attest to that.”
Risner admitted to being in treatment for drugs and having “been to jail and prison numerous times.”