Florida man chops off paraplegic friend’s feet with hatchet in macabre insurance scam

Springfield, MO - In Torey Thompson’s two decades of law enforcement experience, he had encountered his fair share of bizarre incidents. But one particular case stood out as the strangest of his career.

It all began when a man attempted to cash in on an insurance policy by orchestrating a gruesome farm equipment accident. The Howell County Sheriff Office’s lieutenant was no stranger to fraud and macabre scenes, but the combination of circumstances in this case was truly odd.

In November, the Howell County Sheriff’s Office issued a cryptic press release to local media. The incident involved a man in Willow Springs who had supposedly lost his feet in a staged mishap with a brush hog—a rotary mower commonly attached to tractors. The term “lost” was quite literal, as the severed feet remained elusive even to the responding medics and law enforcement officers.

As the investigation unfolded, Thompson couldn’t shake the feeling that something was amiss. The freshly severed feet were indeed real, but the situation was far from accidental. The man, a known paraplegic in his 60s, had tourniquets on his legs—raising immediate questions about who had placed them there after the alleged accident.

The twist? The man wasn’t acting alone. Authorities discovered that a visitor from Florida had journeyed to the small Ozarks town with a hatchet, executing an elaborate plan to commit insurance fraud. Thompson summed it up succinctly: “It was a poorly executed plan—I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

And so, in the quiet corners of south central Missouri, this bizarre tale unfolded—a testament to the unexpected twists that law enforcement encounters in their pursuit of justice.

The wounds were far from convincing, according to the lieutenant. The cuts were unnaturally clean, lacking the gruesome mess one would expect from a brush hog accident. Torey Thompson, who had witnessed his fair share of such incidents, knew this wasn’t typical.

As the investigation unfolded, it became clear that the man’s intentions were less about injury and more about money. He had staged the incident to make an insurance claim. However, since he never formally filed the false claim, Howell County prosecutors refrained from pressing charges.

The sheriff’s office, frustrated by the resources expended on this peculiar case, contemplated pursuing criminal charges for filing a false police/EMS report. But there was a twist: the man’s injuries were severe, making incarceration a challenging process. He spent an extended period recovering in a local hospital.

And as for the missing feet? A relative eventually discovered them hidden in a bucket, obscured by tires. A strange end to an even stranger tale.

Joe Kelley

Joe Kelley

WDBO News Director and host the The Joe Kelley Show - weekdays from 5:00PM to 7:00PM on WDBO.





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