Two stations in Tucson are walking back reports about a young child whose mother said he killed himself after witnessing a deathly accident, Tucson Weekly reports.
ABC affiliate KGUN interviewed Genesee Pineda, who said that her son took his own life after he saw his best friend run over by a Pima County police cruiser. NBC affiliate KVOA also reported the death, saying on multiple newscasts “we’re told [he] committed suicide days after” his friend died.
“He was asking about heaven, he had repeated that he didn’t want his friend to go to heaven by himself,” Pineda told KGUN. “They took him to UMC, where he died there.”
After running the story, KGUN investigative reporter Craig Smith — who Tucson Weekly notes did not file the original story — did a follow-up report revealing neither the police or the hospital had any record of a the death. Smith also noted that the photo Pineda provided of her son was identical to one on HBO’s website.
Both stations have done follow-up reports on the story’s inaccuracies, although neither station has addressed why Pineda’s claims were not investigated before the original reports went to air.
KVOA’s report can be seen here; KGUN’s report has been stripped from the website, but a cached version remains online here.
TVSpy has reached out to KVOA and KGUN for comment.