I’ve been sitting on the following photographs for a little while now. In that time, I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not I should actually post them. While it’s nearly impossible to write about the Sandy Hook shooting without discussing the twenty child victims, I do believe I’ve trodden lightly, doing my best to treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve. Their families have obviously been through a lot, and they continue to go through a lot – more than necessary, unfortunately – as they are forced to deal with bottom-feeding scumbags like James Fetzer, Wolfgang Halbig, Maria Chang, Tony Mead, etc. The very last thing that I want to do is contribute to their pain in any way, and I sincerely hope that I’ve avoided doing so.

However, on the flip side, this material is publicly available. Some of the photos are a bit more difficult to find than others (which is why I suspect I personally haven’t seen them posted elsewhere yet), but they are public. I’m not violating anyone’s trust by posting them here and I certainly didn’t do anything questionable in order to procure them; I just know where and how to look.

The claim that no one actually died at Sandy Hook School on December 14th, 2012, and that it was all just a “drill”, presents nearly endless logistical issues, many of which are never broached by deniers. One issue they have attempted to tackle, at least in very small part, is : where are these twenty children now? It’s been nearly four years now, so where have they been all that time? Why hasn’t anyone seen them since? These goofballs will tell you that this is because those children, at least as we know them, never existed; they were characters, portrayed by child actors. And we have seen them – now free to live their lives under their true identity – at Super Bowl XLVII, of all places. Seriously! The Super Bowl: the largest sporting event in America.

Less than two months removed from that terrible morning in Newtown, an anonymous donor paid for members of Sandy Hook School’s fourth grade choir – which held its annual winter concert the night before the shooting – to fly to New Orleans and perform “American the Beautiful” with Jennifer Hudson during the pre-game ceremonies. It was a touching moment… or at least it was for most normal, sane people. For delusional Sandy Hook deniers, it somehow became proof positive that the victims were alive and well, trotted out in front of over 108 million American television viewers, plus the over 70,000 in attendance, as some sort of… plan… to… well, who the hell knows? That’s just another one of those sticky logistical issues, and it’s certainly not the only one inherent in this patently absurd theory. Far more pressing is the fact that, despite most of the choir members not bearing even a passing resemblance to the victims, they also somehow aged three to four years (this being the fourth grade choir while the child victims were all in the first grade) in a span of seven weeks. This is very impossible as well as very stupid. So how on Earth do complete nutters like Halbig and Chang – who will never admit to being wrong, or that their cockamamie ideas make absolutely no sense, explain this away? By suggesting that it’s perfectly normal for children to drastically change appearance in three years, and that all publicly available photos of the twenty children are actually much older than advertised. Inexplicably, these accusations are never extended to the adult victims of the shooting. But what proof do deniers have of these outrageous claims? Absolutely none, of course, but their theory is dead in the water without making these incredible leaps.

And while most people will immediately recognize it as a ludicrous and even offensive question, what evidence exists that these children were real people (rather than invented personas) and that they were indeed only five or six years old (rather than nine) when murdered by Adam Lazna? Besides witness testimony, death certificates, and SSDI entries (which should be all anyone needs, to be honest)? To corroborate these claims, we start with The Newtown Bee, which has featured a few of the victims in their pages in much happier times.

The paper’s “Bee Lines” is a reoccurring, weekly feature in which reporters ask Newtown residents, including schoolchildren, some fairly mundane questions. “Bee Lines” spoke to Sandy Hook victim Olivia Engel twice, first in November of 2010:

Caption: “Newtown Bee: With Thanksgiving coming up, what are you thankful for? Olivia Engel: My blanket.”
Source: http://photos.newtownbee.com/Journalism/Photos-from-the-issue-7/i-FHhQzVT/A

The EXIF data on this photograph, which was published in the November 19th, 2010 edition of the paper, shows that it was taken on November 12th, 2010 (you can see this information for yourself by visiting the source and clicking on the information button). This means Olivia would have been four years-old at the time this photo was taken, and not only does she look like a four year-old, but that is obviously a preschool classroom behind her. But the batshit idea that Olivia – or someone playing her, despite being interviewed as Olivia Engel here in 2010 – was actually in the fourth grade in 2012 would require you to believe that you’re looking at a seven year-old here, and that is very clearly not the case.

That same month, the Engel family participated in their annual photoshoot, which took place at the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club in Westport, CT that year. Out of respect for the photographer’s work, I will not republish it here. Instead, I will direct you to this blog entry on his site (archived here, in case it’s down). At the very top of the page, you’ll see that these photos were taken on or around November 13th, 2010. And as you look at these pictures, keep in mind that if conspiracy kooks such as Wolfgang Halbig, et al., are to believed, and the Sandy Hook victims were fourth graders aged between 9-10 when they performed at the Super Bowl, then Olivia would be somewhere around 7-8 when these photos were taken. No one in their right mind would believe this. As for proof that these photos were in fact taken in 2010, in the fourth photo from the top, you can see a 2011 registration sticker on the boat on the right:

Doubters can also purchase these photos from the photographer and check the EXIF data for themselves. They won’t, but they can.

A little over a year later, in December of 2011, The Newtown Bee’s “Bee Lines” spoke to Olivia for a second time:

Source: http://photos.newtownbee.com/Journalism/Photos-from-the-issue-58/i-tT2VLHN/A

While there’s no caption included for this photograph, the EXIF data shows that it was taken on December 6th, 2011. That would make Olivia five years-old in this photo, which appears to be entirely accurate. But again, those pushing the fantastical Super Bowl theory would prefer you believe that this picture shows a seven or maybe eight year-old girl. They would also really love for you to believe that, a little over a year later, she became the girl on the left (for comparison, an actual picture of Olivia from 2012 is included on the right):

Seriously. That’s the actual claim as it has been made in numerous spooky YouTube videos and blog entries.

During the summer of 2011, Newtown’s C.H. Booth Library hosted weekly craft programs for children aged 4-9 (nine being the age of your average fourth grader). As reported in the August 5th, 2011 edition of the Newtown Bee, victim Caroline Previdi – five years-old and only a month away from her final birthday – was in attendance for the second-to-last event of the year:

Caption: “Ellie Boni, left, and Caroline Previdi created Mardi Gras masks during the library’s Crafts Around the World program on Monday, August 1.”
Source: http://photos.newtownbee.com/Journalism/Photos-from-the-issue-43/i-zK5ddz8/A

The above photo’s EXIF data shows that it was taken on August 1st, 2011.

Here is another photo of Caroline, posing with her friend and classmate, Catherine Hubbard, in the now familiar and ever-changing lobby of Sandy Hook Elementary:

Notice the whiteboard in the back shows the date as Wednesday, June 20th, 2012. This would have been graduation day for the school’s Kindergarten students, and we can see a diploma/certificate in Catherine’s right hand. This is corroborated by the following photo of Joel and Charlotte Bacon, taken the very same day:

Note the timestamp as well as the fact that Charlotte is also carrying a diploma/certificate.

Now this is what deniers claim Caroline looked like, eighteen months later:
It’s not even close!

Even more brazenly,  the lunatics who cooked up this tall tale also made the bizarre choice of pointing out that Caroline’s brother, Walker, also performed with the choir, as seen in the following photo:

But Walker is three years older than Caroline. Here are a couple of photos of them together, clearly illustrating the difference in age:

Yet somehow, in February of 2013, at Super Bowl XLVII, they have magically become the same age. Conspiracy theorists have thus far failed to explain this obvious disruption in the space time continuum. Or this one:

If Caroline Previdi was nine years old at the time of the Super Bowl, as she would have had to be in order to perform alongside her brother and the rest of the school’s fourth grade choir, then any photos of her as a six year-old would have had to have been taken sometime between September 2009 and September 2010. But if that were the case, how did a five year-old Caroline manage to find herself in a photo with a newspaper reporting on an incident that didn’t take place until December of 2011 (see the Brandon Jacobs/Rex Ryan cover to her right)? If the conspiracy theorists are right – and they never are – then she would have been eight years old in this photo, and that is clearly not the case.

Here’s one last photo of Caroline (seen standing, on the left); a class photo from the 2011-2012 school year, likely taken shortly after the one published in the Bee: Along with a number of other victims, we can see Noah Pozner, seated on the right. Noah is wearing a red “Ready 4 Games” shirt by Nintendo, which was trademarked and sold in 2011:

So the class photo – which shows what is obviously a group of five year-old children – could not have been taken at any time prior to 2011. Therefore their age is being represented accurately. This further corroborates the other photos which show these children as being six years-old at the time of the shooting.

Back to the Bee’s “Bee Lines”, who spoke to one of victim’s Jessica Rekos’ two brothers back in November of 2011:

Caption: “Newtown Bee: Who is the most important person in the world? Travis Rekos: My sister, Jessica.”
Source: http://photos.newtownbee.com/Journalism/Photos-from-the-issue-55/i-GM7M43T/A

While the above photograph does not actually include Jessica, it does show that she was a very real person and not, as proclaimed by Sandy Hook deniers, a character played by an actress.

The Newtown Bee’s “Snapshot” was another reoccurring feature that focused on a different Newtown resident every week. And on March 16th, 2012, they profiled victim Dylan Hockley’s mother, Nicole. Asked about her family, Mrs. Hockley, who moved to Sandy Hook from England in January of 2011, says:

Family: My husband, Ian, is British and works for IBM. We have two children. Jake is 7 years old, and in the second grade at Sandy Hook School, and Dylan is 6, and in kindergarten there.

In order to perform with the school’s fourth grade choir, Dylan would have had to have been nine years-old and in the third grade at the time of this interview. Again, the only “evidence” deniers have ever provided in support of their stupid theory is a picture of what is a different child, performing at the Super Bowl. That’s it.

Returning to “Bee Lines” one last time, the paper caught up with victim Catherine Hubbard and her mother on April 24th, 2012 (according to the following photograph’s EXIF data), and asked them what they think makes people turn out to vote:

Caption: “Newtown Bee: What do you think makes people turn out to vote? Jenny Hubbard and Catherine Hubbard, right: The issues.”
Source: http://photos.newtownbee.com/Journalism/Photos-from-the-issue-78/i-LKFWd2P/A

This photo was taken less than two months before Catherine’s sixth birthday, and around eight months before the shooting. While the clowns who regurgitate these ridiculous ideas do not appear to believe that Catherine was asked to perform at the Super Bowl (why were only some of the children included?), this proves that she was, in fact, a very real six year-old girl.

Some of the more deranged and dangerous members of the Sandy Hook stalker cult (such as fifty-four year-old Tony Mead of Absolute Best Moving in Florida) have focused their attention on one member of the fourth grade choir in particular, harassing the young girl and her family, insisting that she is actually murdered first-grader Avielle Richman, now living under a new name. Again, this is in spite of a a three year age difference as well as a great many differences in physical appearance. But these lunatics march on, unabated, and steadfastly maintaining their position that all photos of Avielle are actually three years older than claimed. This is total bullshit, and can be proven as such with a single photo, showing a five year-old Avielle with her parents around Christmas of 2011:

That is plainly not a nine year-old girl, but how do we know that this photo was taken in 2011? Simple: The Williams-Sonoma “The Cookbook For Kids” shown on the floor, which we can reasonably assume was given to Avielle as a Christmas gift, was not released until February of 2011:

That makes it an extremely unlikely gift for Christmas of 2010 (unless they were celebrating six weeks late), and sadly, young Avielle did not live to see Christmas of 2012. That means that this picture could only be from Christmas of 2011, or less than a year before the shooting. Of course that won’t be enough for some people, and they’ll claim that the book was “Photoshopped” in, while providing zero proof of such an accusation.  Not that there’s any evidence they’ll ever accept, but surely they’ll have a tougher time hand-waving away the physical differences between the two girls.

Human ears – like fingerprints – are unique, and while two people may have very similar features (not even identical twins look 100% alike), if the ears do not match, they are simply not the same people; you don’t have to waste your time looking any further. And, if you know what you’re looking at, there’s no question that Avielle’s ears (left) are markedly different from those of the girl in the choir (right, and whose name you will not see here as I have no intention of enabling these psychos):

This is not a perfect view, but it’s good enough for a solid comparison. Now, for reference, let’s take a look at the anatomy of the outer ear:

As we can see, the ear on the left – which belongs to Avielle Richman – is much less prominent (closer to the head) than the one on the right. The ear on the right also has a much rounder antihelix, and the shape as well as size of the earlobe – or lobule – is very different. Those are the most obvious, most striking differences, though I’m sure that you can spot plenty more. These are unmistakably different ears and therefore they belong to different children. No reasonable argument can be made to the contrary.

While the demonstration above is more than enough to dismiss this one outright, we can also compare the eyes of these two girls and (again) see that there are a number of major differences:

First and foremost, Avielle’s eyes (top) are almond-shaped, whereas the eyes on the bottom are downturned. The difference here is not subtle. There’s also a much more prominent crease in the lid of the eyes on the bottom. Additionally, the face on the bottom also has wider-set eyes, different brows, and freckles (which Avielle does not have). I’m sure those who stand by this claim will say that they were tattooed on later.

I could keep going, but I won’t. There’s no need to. Beyond the three year age differential, and beyond the fact that they’re completely different children, living completely different lives, they just do not match up from an anatomical perspective. The claim – laughable from the onset – has been thoroughly debunked. It’s time for deniers to start behaving like real, responsible, reasonable adults, and leave this poor little girl alone. Even those that do not actively participate in this harassment need to speak up and say enough is enough. There’s nothing here; stop allowing yourselves to be manipulated by these charlatans and do something positive with your life.

For even more on this, please see “An Actual Expert Weighs In On The Sandy Hook Super Bowl Choir Conspiracy Theory“.

11 Thoughts on “Debunking Claims Made About The Child Victims Of Sandy Hook

  1. Stephen Waddock on October 30, 2016 at 11:14 pm said:

    Kinda makes you wonder what Appleton’s claims to “expertise”, is? It’s obvious, when you REALLY examine the photos of Lenie and Avi, they ARE two different people.

    • Shill Murray on October 31, 2016 at 7:45 pm said:

      Much like he has done with his own resume, Halbig has straight-up lied about Appleton’s experience. He’s an A/V guy, and his website says as much. I don’t even know how Halbig found him, to be honest. Appleton’s court appearances have been slip and fall cases; I can’t find one instance of him being brought in to do any kind of anthropometry, facial biometrics, etc. And I can’t find any relevant education of experience anywhere on his resume. Not surprisingly, the whole thing is a sham. Hilariously enough, I believe I saw Jim’s son say that Halbig never paid him for this whole ordeal. So he made a fool of himself and got stiffed in the process.

      I asked both Appletons (Jim and his son) to clarify a couple of things regarding this situation. I wanted to know where Jim learned how to identify and compare faces, and I also wanted to know how the hell he could screw up so badly. They look nothing alike. The elder Appleton never replied to me and his kid immediately blocked me on Twitter. So if they want to complain that I’m sullying their good name by screwing up the story, they have no one to blame but themselves.

  2. Carla williams on November 12, 2016 at 3:37 am said:

    Actually.. look at the eyebrows again one on left is curved one on right has a peak then a part kind of cut out.. weird. They look the same.

    • Shill Murray on November 12, 2016 at 3:45 am said:

      The left (our left) eyebrows look nothing alike. The shape, height, length, etc. are all very different. The peaks you speak of on the right (again, our right) eyebrows don’t even line up with one another. This is just one of the many differences in these eyebrows, most of which I think are immediately clear. They do not look the same. And again, the shapes of the eyes are completely different. These are obviously two different girls. But don’t take my word for it; please feel free to read my latest update.

      • Patrick Lange on January 6, 2018 at 1:03 pm said:

        Hey, I am no photoshop expert. Hoaxer claimed that the one with the family standing in front of the christmas tree is photoshopped. I gave him this link in an argument, but he gave me this picture. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DSwSaV4VQAIRvP6.jpg

        He told me “Inconsistent error level. Some areas as bright and even brighter than the shopped on circle. Other areas abnormally dark. Shopped Photo” Can you please explain this?

        • Shill Murray on January 10, 2018 at 8:13 pm said:

          I’m happy to explain, despite the fact that the clown making these claims couldn’t be bothered. But seeing as how they’re clearly talking out of their ass, I can’t say I really blame them for keeping it so short. They want you to believe that any bright color in an error level analysis means that a photo, as a whole, has been manipulated (beyond the simple addition of the circle), and is therefore fraudulent. That’s not only an overly simplistic of how ELA works, but it’s just not true.

          First and foremost, I think it’s important to stress that error level analysis is not something that is taken very seriously by professionals. Actual image forensics expert Jens Kriese has previously described ELA as “subjective and not based entirely on science. This is why there is not a single scientific paper that addresses it” as well as “a method used by hobbyists” which “does not provide clear results”. And Professor Henry Farid has said that it “incorrectly labels altered images as original and incorrectly labels original images as altered with the same likelihood”. So even if this person had interpreted the results of the ELA correctly – and spoiler, they didn’t – well, so what? If people like Jens Kriese or Hany Farid don’t take it seriously, then why shoud we?

          But still, what is ELA? How does it work? Or how is it purposted to work? Unfortunately we can’t answer any of these questions without first getting at least a little technical.

          In case you’re unaware, JPEGs – which is what we’re working with here – make use of lossy compression to reduce overall file size by discarding (or losing) data. These images will continue to lose data and degrade as they are saved, re-saved, and then re-saved again. What error level analysis does is show the levels of degradation within these lossy images. And since pixels in unmodified images will degrade at the same rate, the end result is a consistent error level. However, in modified images, the altered (or modified) portion(s) will appear bright white, demonstrating a higher error level than the rest of the image. Now we’ve already run into our first problem with this guy’s claim here as there are no bright white areas anywhere in the Avielle Richman photo, which again is indicative of modification. The colors (different from bright white) that we do see are simply the result of high contrast edges. These are especially noticable in areas that face the sun, which is coming in from the right. This is all expected and normal behavior, and that is according to every piece of information regarding error levels and error level analysis that I could find on the Internet. I’ll post these sources at the end of my reply for anyone that is interested… or maybe doesn’t believe me.

          Now in images that have been subjected to ELA, the sections that are black correspond to the areas that have not been changed. This indicates a good level of compression with minimal error levels. This exposes another problem with our anonymous friend’s analysis, and this one really demonstrates their ignorance on the matter: there is no such thing as “abnormally dark” when you’re talking about error levels. Again, black – which is about as dark as you can get, I think – indicates minimal error levels. This is exactly what you want to see when you’re looking at an unmodified image as it shows uniform degradation.

          So that’s the technical explanation, but there are also a couple of ways in which this claim makes absolutely no sense whatsoever from a logical perspective as well:

          1) The only part of this photo that would have had to have been edited in order for it to stand as evidence that Avielle Richman was 5-6 years old in December of 2011 would be the cookbook, which shows up as black in the ELA. As we’ve already learned, that means that it is unmodified.

          2) Given how error levels work, in order for something to be “brighter” than the circle, it would have to have been added after it. And seeing as how this photo is still available on Jeremy Richman’s Facebook page – without the circle that I personally added – this is absurd, if not impossible. If anything was added after the circle, then it wouldn’t exist in the version available on Mr. Richman’s Facebook page. So I’d invite anyone that is still skeptical to compare the two.



        • Shill Murray on January 10, 2018 at 9:17 pm said:

          Let me further demonstrate with some photos. Feel free to follow along at home.

          Here is the original Avielle Richman Christmas photo, as it appears on Jeremy Richman’s publicly available Facebook page:

          Notice that the cookbook is there and that there is no circle surrounding it. If we download that photo and then run an error level analysis on it using this site, we see the following results:

          Mostly black (indicating no modification) and some colors in areas of high contrast. Knowing what we now know about error levels and error level analysis, nothing here stands out as suspicious in the slightest.

          Now we’ll take my version of this photo – which has the circle around the cookbook – and run an error level analysis on it using the same site:

          Finally, let’s compare the results of these two photos:

          Outside of the circle and additional compression artifacts – the result of further image degradation, wholly expected with subsequent saves – there is no difference. There are no bright white areas indicative of tampering. Outside of the circle in the second/right photo, which I obviously and admittedly added myself, there is no evidence of “Photoshopping” here. The claim is total nonsense.

          • Patrick Lange on January 11, 2018 at 7:03 am said:

            Thanks for clearing that up! That guy who sent me that is clearly ignorant.

          • Shill Murray on January 11, 2018 at 9:41 pm said:

            One last demonstration, and I think this one may be the most useful:

            Using a stock photo, I “Photoshopped” (or added) a cat onto the dog bed in the Richman Christmas photo, as seen here:

            Not too bad, right? Then I ran an error level analysis on it, using the same online tool I used earlier. Here are the results:

            The cat very clearly stands out and is the bright white color we should expect now that we actually know how error levels and error level analysis works. Compare these results to the original photo as well as the photo in which the circle has been added and the differences are crystal clear. The Christmas photo has not been “Photoshopped” in the sense that any information was added to it.

  3. Patrick Lange on January 5, 2018 at 2:54 am said:

    I’ve tried to post this link in an argument, but the hoaxers believe the photos are fake and photoshopped.

    • Shill Murray on January 9, 2018 at 6:00 pm said:

      This is exactly what deniers do: if they haven’t seen a particular piece of evidence, then it doesn’t exist. But if said evidence ever does appear, then they’ll simply dismiss it as fraudulent, usually without any explanation whatsoever. Rinse, repeat. Here’s a perfect example: deniers previously claimed that a lack of publicly available death certificates of the victims was proof of a hoax. But once they learned that literally anyone could order a copy from the town clerk for $20, and people started posting scans online, they claimed they were all faked, without any legitimate supporting evidence. It’s par for the course.

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