The Tyler County Sheriff’s Department has announced that a man has now been arrested after he intentionally posted a false claim on his Facebook page that he tested positive for Coronavirus. District Attorney Lucas Babin says it caused a panic and actually tied up phone lines at Tyler County Hospital in Woodville with concerned residents phoning in.
The man has been identified as 23-year-old Michael Lane Brandin, of Woodville. Sheriff Bryan Weatherford says Brandin turned himself in on Tuesday and was charged with False Alarm or Report, which is a class A misdemeanor, and his bond was set at $1,000.00.
Meanwhile, Babin says Brandin told Tyler County investigators that he did it as a “social experiment” to make a point that you can’t believe everything you read online. However, Babin said he believes that Brandin did it to shock people and to draw attention upon himself.
Earlier in the week, Babin had reminded residents on his office’s Facebook page “Knowingly communicating, initiating, or circulating a false report/false alarm of COVID-19 that one *knows is false or baseless*, and that would ordinarily cause action by an official or interrupt the occupation of any place of assembly, can be a criminal offense in the State of Texas.”