Rumor: Girl, 8, running Boston Marathon died in bombing

A photo going around on social media sites claims the young runner died in the Boston bombing attack.

FALSE

Image of girl is hoax by unknown party, says Joe Cassella Foundation

A photo going around the Internet claims to show a young runner, wearing a Joe Cassella Foundation bib, who died in the Boston Marathon bombing yesterday. Of course, no kids are allowed to run in the marathon, the Boston Athletic Association confirmed to MSN News. And the president and co-founder of Joe Cassella Foundation confirmed to MSN News that the photo is a hoax and the girl is alive.

The photo

“R.I.P. to the 8-year-old girl who died in Boston’s explosions, while running for the Sandy Hook kids,” reads a tweet from Hope for Boston (@HopeforBoston).  It accompanies a photo of a girl wearing a “Joe Cassella 5K” running bib.

The photo likely circulated after media outlets confirmed that an 8-year-old child died in the attack while he was waiting to greet his father at the finish line. But that child was a boy and was later identified as Martin Richard.

The image of the girl was shared more than 11,000 times on Facebook, with a caption that reads: “See this little girl? She died today. She was running the marathon for the Sandy Hook kids. She’s 8. Repost for respect of her. Wear red tommarow (sic) to support her and all the others who died.”

The oft-repeated tweet and Facebook posts prompted buzz from The Telegraph, Huffington Post, 94.3 The Point, Twitchy.com and ire from Tweeps outraged by the hoax.

The girl is alive

“We know the little girl and we know she’s OK,” Vivi Cassella, president and co-founder of Joe Cassella Foundation, a small nonprofit organization in Leesburg, Va., told MSN News. Cassella's organization holds fundraising races, and a photo from a past event was used by an unknown party to create the hoax.

Her foundation posted on its Facebook page and website: "We would like to clarify that the picture circulating on the web and Twitter of a little girl wearing a Joe Cassella 5K bib claiming to have been killed at the Boston Marathon is being used fraudulently."

“We think it’s a dishonest thing to do,” Cassella told MSN News of the hoax. “As parents, we feel disgusted by that…We feel bad for the parents of the real victims, especially the little boy. It’s just sad that it takes away attention from the real victims.”

The Twitter account of HopeforBoston has been suspended after ample complaints from Twitter users, but not before wide circulation of the bogus claim.

Latest news about the Boston Marathon explosions

 

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