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  1. #1

    Man Fakes Choking to Get Women's Attention

    yahoo.com 3/07/03

    Man Fakes Choking to Get Women's Attention

    Fri Mar 7, 3:32 PM ET

    PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - A short, dumpy man has been going around town faking choking episodes, apparently to get attention from women.

    He flails his arms, coughs and sputters. After a woman rushes over to help, he showers her with gratitude, hugs and kisses.

    The sheriff's office has gotten about a half-dozen calls about the Choking Man, as the Charlotte Sun Herald dubbed him. So far he has not committed any crime, though a woman on Monday went to the hospital with an anxiety attack after an encounter.

    It dawned on people that he was faking it after the newspaper ran a story earlier this week about a woman in a restaurant rescuing an anonymous choking man. The paper started getting calls from women saying they, too, had had encounters with a man who matched the description.

    Mary Welcher said she noticed the man outside a hospital in January, flailing his arms, gasping and turning red.

    "I knew the Heimlich maneuver from having done it on one of my children," Welcher said. "I ran around and grabbed him around the waist. A piece of apple came out. He'd been eating an apple before he started choking."

    As in the other reported encounters, Choking Man was gushing with gratitude.

    "He was crying, sweating, hugging us and saying, `Thank you, you saved my life!'" Welcher said.

    She and other women who have "saved" him described him as being in his mid-30s, 5-foot-6 and 245 pounds, with a bald spot and a mustache.

    "There's been no crime. Our hands are kind of tied here," sheriff's spokesman Bob Carpenter said Friday.

    Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
    Copyright 2003 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. #2
    Released Outright
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    Why didn't I think of that!!!

  3. #3
    Originally posted by SorianoFanHFW
    Why didn't I think of that!!!
    Are you THAT desparate?? j/k!

    That has just taken pathetic to an all time low!

  4. #4
    Wow. What a pathetic, desperate, joke.

  5. #5
    R-I-P, Mr. Nelson Mandela Jersey Yankee's Avatar
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    Originally posted by noodle
    Are you THAT desparate?? j/k!

    That has just taken pathetic to an all time low!
    How does he turn red if he's not really choking? Don't people start turning blue also?

    BTW, I thought that in times of desperation, people just called the Operator and then could speak to a girl. Or is that the story of my life?

    **Runs into hiding!!!**

  6. #6
    Originally posted by Jersey Yankee
    How does he turn red if he's not really choking? Don't people start turning blue also?

    BTW, I thought that in times of desperation, people just called the Operator and then could speak to a girl. Or is that the story of my life?

    **Runs into hiding!!!**
    Awww Poor Jersey! You know, you could always dial a random number in the phone book and see if someone talks back!

  7. #7
    Originally posted by Jersey Yankee
    How does he turn red if he's not really choking? Don't people start turning blue also?
    You can't make your face red? (without markers/paint)

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by noodle


    Are you THAT desparate?? j/k!

    That has just taken pathetic to an all time low!
    I'm in desperate need for loving

  9. #9
    Originally posted by PinstripePride


    You can't make your face red? (without markers/paint)
    Hey, I blush easy with just people looking at me! A very nice deep shade of red!!


    Originally posted by SorianoFanHFW


    I'm in desperate need for loving
    Awwww, thats what escort services are for!

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by PinstripePride


    You can't make your face red? (without markers/paint)
    hold your breath and fake cough.

  11. #11
    NYYF Legend

    krystl's Avatar
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    BTW, I thought that in times of desperation, people just called the Operator and then could speak to a girl
    If your lucky enough to get a live person at the other end and not some recording or automated thing!

  12. #12
    The Commish YanksRockMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by SorianoFanHFW

    hold your breath and fake cough.
    or hold your breath and squeak
    Harry the K's Legends: 2009 Champs, 2010 Ruth Division Champions

    R.I.P Harry Kalas...Say hi to whitey for me

  13. #13
    Originally posted by SorianoFanHFW

    hold your breath and fake cough.
    I know. I can do it without the cough. I was just curious becuase JY apparently can't.

  14. #14
    sun-herald.com 3/06/03

    Choking Man may be fraud

    By MALCOLM BRENNER
    03/06/03


    When Denise Tucker performed the Heimlich maneuver on a man who appeared to be choking Monday morning, she thought she was saving a life.

    Instead, Tucker was an unwitting participant in a bizarre performance that was acted out at least three more times that day and once in February.

    Tucker's encounter inspired several other people to call the Sun and report their own experiences. What emerges is a picture of an apparently life-threatening scenario repeated over and over in a ritualistic fashion. It may even be derived from a novel.

    The story of "Choking Man" sounds like an urban legend, but it's not. In each case, the act itself and the actor's description are the same. Only the details and the "leading lady" change, because all those who have come to his aid have been women.

    Choking Man is white, middle-aged and "stocky," around 5 feet 5 inches tall and 200-250 pounds. He has short brown hair with a bald spot and a small moustache. Sometimes he wears glasses and a wedding band. One woman described his complexion as swarthy.

    Choking Man drives a very dark-colored, small Ford or Chevy pickup truck. One woman said it had stepsides. On Monday, he was wearing a light blue dress shirt and navy blue slacks.

    Although he hasn't harmed anyone yet, Choking Man's act is no joke. It sent one of his rescuers to the hospital.

    About 45 minutes before Tucker "rescued" Choking Man outside Pulsafeeder, he performed the same act at the County Line Market, 285 Duncan Road, east of Punta Gorda.

    Around 8:15 a.m. Monday, "This man walked in holding one hand over his mouth, the other one over his stomach, like he was trying to vomit," said Alice "Sissy" Castillo, a clerk at the store.

    The man entered the men's bathroom without closing the door completely, and Castillo didn't hear any retching noises. After a few minutes, she became concerned.

    "Then he walked out of the bath room with his hand balled up, like he wanted me to pound on his back," Castillo recalled. "He looked like he was choking on something, but when I tried to call 9-1-1, he jerked the phone out of my hand."

    The stranger backed into Castillo and wrapped her arms around his midsection. "He had me push on his stomach twice, and dry bread flew out of his mouth," Castillo said.

    The stranger was grateful.

    "He said, 'Oh thank you, you saved my life!' He was hugging me and kissing me," Castillo continued. "Then he said, 'I left my truck running,' so I went out and turned the vehicle off," forgetting that the cash register was unguarded. On the truck seat, she saw a bag of sliced bread.

    When Castillo came back, "He was shaking so bad I got him a chair and sat him down. He said he was a businessman from Bartow headed to Fort Myers for a 9:30 meeting. I asked if there was anybody I could call for him, but he said 'No no no, my wife would freak out.' "

    In spite of that, the man did appear to call his wife on a cell phone shortly after Castillo gave him a bottle of water, which she paid for. When Castillo left work around 2:30 p.m., "My drawer was matched to the penny, like usual."

    But on the drive home, she began to feel like she was having a heart attack. She checked into DeSoto Memorial Hospital, where doctors diagnosed an acute anxiety attack, and kept her overnight.

    Shortly after Tucker's incident, Danielle Lussier, a radiology student at Edison Community College, came upon a man of the same description getting out of his truck at a stop sign in the campus parking lot.

    "His face didn't look purple, like he was choking, but it looked red," Lussier said.

    The scenario repeated itself. When Lussier started to perform the Heimlich maneuver, "He grabbed one of my hands and pulled it to his stomach area." After three tries, the man ejected a piece of bread.

    Afterward, the man, crying, told Lussier she had saved his life. Then he began to get personal.

    "He was giving me a big old bear hug," Lussier recalled. "He brought out pictures of his wife and daughter," like he did with Tucker. He told Lussier that the bread was specially made for people on the Atkins diet, because "his wife was on him about his weight," even showing her the bread.

    Choking Man gave his name as Larry or Lawrence and said he plays guitar in his church band. "He wanted to know who I was and where I was from," Lussier said. "He said he wanted to thank my pastor."

    They were alone for five minutes, Lussier said. The man so earned her trust that when he asked for her phone number, Lussier gave it to him.

    Told of the other incidents, Lussier said, "I knew something was weird." She also told of a similar choking incident in the school cafeteria later that day, but that could not be confirmed.

    Choking Man appears to have first struck on Feb. 10, outside The Dog House, a small pet-grooming business on East Marion Avenue in Punta Gorda. East of Marlympia Way, the avenue is quiet and little-trafficked.

    Around 9 a.m., Jackie Roman noticed a small, dark-colored pickup stopped in front of her sister-in-law, Rose Harper's, business, blocking westbound traffic. "As I went around truck I noticed the driver either sneezing violently or coughing," Roman said.

    The man pulled into the driveway, got out of his truck and "was walking around throwing his hands in the air, looking wild-eyed," Roman recalled. "He didn't seem like he was really choking to me. He wasn't purple or blue, just very red-faced."

    When a waiting customer tried the Heimlich but failed, Roman yelled at Harper to call 9-1-1.

    "I used to work in an ambulance service in Michigan and the Heimlich came back to me," Roman said. This time, the man ejected a piece of celery.

    The man, who gave his name as Mark, didn't want 9-1-1 summoned. "He said he was on the way to college and sat for about 10-15 minutes," then went on his way, Roman said.

    Choking Man's motive remains obscure, but it may be related to "Choke," a novel by Chuck Palahniuk, author of "Fight Club." The main character of "Choke" stages choking incidents in restaurants hoping that the people who "save" him will feel responsible for him and support him.

    Or he may be mentally ill.

    "It sounds like factitious disorder," said Dr. Katina Matthews-Ferrari, medical director of Charlotte County Sheriff's Office Inc. The Diagnostic Service Manual defines the disorder as "intentional production or feigning of physical or psychological signs and symptoms," to assume the sick role.

    The incentives can be economic gain, as in Palahniuk's novel, avoiding legal responsibilities, getting health care or fulfilling an emotional need.

    Addressing Choking Man, Matthews-Ferrari said, "If you're reading this, get professional help."

    Detective Ritchhart with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office would like to hear any other stories about Choking Man. Contact him at (941) 575-5210.

    You can e-mail Malcolm Brenner at mbrenner@sun-herald.com

    2003 All rights reserved.
    A division of Sun Coast Media Group Inc.
    Publishers of the Sun newspapers.

  15. #15
    Hope is eternal
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    What a loser. I hope this guy never chokes for real! He'll die as no one will touch him.

  16. #16
    NYYF Legend

    krystl's Avatar
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    Yeah, didn't his mother ever tell him the story of the boy who cried wolf?

  17. #17
    sun-herald.com 3/12/03

    By MALCOLM BRENNER
    03/12/03


    Choking Man identified as Arcadia resident

    36-year-old commits himself to behavorial center

    The reign of "Choking Man" may be over.

    The middle-aged, stocky, pleasant-mannered man who staged fake choking incidents across Southwest Florida -- and sent one woman to the hospital -- is now receiving psychiatric treatment in a local mental health facility.

    Charlotte County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Bob Carpenter said the man voluntarily committed himself to Riverside Behavioral Center on Monday.

    "We have 17 known complaints about him," Carpenter said, but the case remains open because complaints were still being received Tuesday morning. Some date back two years.

    Citing privacy provisions of the Baker Act, Carpenter declined to identify the man, except as a 36-year-old, married Arcadia man.

    Although Choking Man broke no laws, the fact that he solicited help only from women, gave them false personal information and, in at least one case, obtained a woman's phone number greatly concerned law enforcement.

    The break in identifying Choking Man came because he apparently didn't realize that two of the women he approached for help knew him. But they were too embarrassed to come forward until the incident became national news, Carpenter said.

    That led detective Dale Ritchhart to the subject's employer on Friday. And on Tuesday morning, Ritchhart said, the subject's wife called him.

    Ritchhart hadn't interviewed the subject as of Tuesday afternoon, but he hopes to get some answers about Choking Man's puzzling behavior when he does.

    "This is the strangest and most bizarre case I've had in my 21 years in law enforcement," Ritchhart admitted. "I have no crime, so what do I investigate? I don't know what he's getting out of this."

    At least one person, however, suffered grave consequences as a result of rushing to Choking Man's aid.

    "I'd like to choke him down," Alice Castillo said when told the news. She was working as a clerk at County Line Market, 285 Duncan Road, east of Punta Gorda, when Choking Man showed up around 8:15 a.m. on March 3. He came out of the store's bathroom gasping and clutching his throat, she said.

    Castillo didn't know the Heimlich maneuver, which dislodges an object from a choking victim's throat, so Choking Man backed into her arms and showed her. "I gave it all I had," she later recalled, and the man spit out a piece of bread.

    Choking Man responded by thanking, hugging and kissing his "rescuer" before leaving. Later, on her way home, Castillo suffered an anxiety attack and checked into a local hospital. She didn't check out until Sunday, which cost her the job.

    "I can't sleep now, I have to take all kinds of medications," Castillo said Tuesday. "He must be really sick; that's all there is to it."

    Carpenter said Choking Man had staged incidents in Charlotte, DeSoto, Lee, Polk and Sarasota counties. But phone calls that flooded a Tampa radio station Monday indicate he may have ranged from Dade City in the north to Cape Coral in the south, west to New Port Ritchie and east to Sebring.

    If so, he covered almost 9,000 square miles of Southwest and Central Florida.

    "Hoover," an executive producer at WFLA, said the size of Choking Man's range only became apparent after a disc jockey mentioned the story on the air Monday afternoon.

    The DJ, Todd Schnitt, had first warned listeners about Choking Man during his Thursday morning show, which Schnitt hosts under the name M.J. Kelli.

    "M.J. was very concerned for our listeners," Hoover said. "This guy asked for women's phone numbers. You want to make sure listeners aren't putting themselves in a dangerous situation.

    "We hadn't asked for calls, and people were calling up, saying they'd been in touch with this guy," Hoover added. "We got three stories right in a row and put them on the air."

    Callers from Brandon, Valrico, Bradenton, Punta Gorda, Sebring, Lakeland, Dade City and New Port Ritchie all described the same character. "We got about 10 calls total, and it was the same story, except for the type of food this guy spit out," Hoover said.

    In addition to bread, Choking Man has coughed up nuts, hard candies and pieces of celery, apple, hot dog, waffle fries and bagel.

    The saga of Choking Man bears a strange resemblance to "Choke," a 2002 novel by Oregon author Chuck Palahniuk.

    When interviewed Monday, Palahniuk said he wasn't surprised, because his 1996 debut novel "Fight Club" and the subsequent film inspired people to set up real "fight clubs" in places like Brigham Young University.

    "Go figure," Palahniuk said.

    You can e-mail Malcolm Brenner at mbrenner@sun-herald.com

    2003 All rights reserved.
    A division of Sun Coast Media Group Inc.
    Publishers of the Sun newspapers.

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