Two Ohio men are under investigation by state officials after a zombie prank left some frightened residents thinking that there were human remains in a state park.
Dustin Smith and Jasen Dixon, who are widely known for staging an annual “zombie nativity scene” near Cincinnati, said they were just looking for a little fun when they placed fake body parts beneath a frozen, backyard pond for Facebook photos.
To make it more exciting, they pretended in their posts that the body parts were human.
“Everyone knew we were kidding especially ‘cause we kept putting the link to the zombie nativity scene site up after every post. Nobody in my Facebook thought it was real,” Smith told The Huffington Post Wednesday.
But Dixon, speaking to Fox 6 News, said some people were fooled.
“[Smith] pretended he was camping at East Fork [State Park] and ran across a body frozen in the ice. We messed with people and everyone was falling for it,” he told the station.
Eventually, Dixon said they came clean about it being a gag. Unfortunately at least one person missed the memo and contacted authorities.
“About two hours after it started is when I received the call from the [Department of Natural Resources],” Smith said.
In a video posted Monday to a Facebook page for the “Zombie nativity scene,” Smith said a DNR agent interrogated him over the photos. During their meeting, he was told that they sent someone out to the lake to search for a body.
“The problem, he said, is that there are people whose last known whereabouts were at that lake and they haven’t been found,” Smith says in the video.
“They said that I was facing up to three charges but when I asked what they were he couldn’t tell me,” he told HuffPost of his conversation with the DNR.
Smith expressed surprise by the DNR’s reaction, stating: “I didn’t expect any of this at all. I’ve seen the same kind of thing go unnoticed before and did not think that it would go where it did.”
Still, he said he believes that the investigation will end without further issue.
“They haven’t brought any charges on me and as far as I know I didn’t do anything illegal. If it was a major law I broke they would have charged me already,” he said.
A spokesman for the state’s DNR confirmed the investigation but provided no further comment when reached by HuffPost Wednesday.