Report: The family of a teenager killed on an Orlando amusement park ride have no links to a woman allegedly posing as a cousin

The tragic story of the 14-year-old boy who fell to his death while riding a drop tower attraction at an Orlando amusement park this month has taken a new turn.

A woman local News affiliate WFTV who claimed to be a member of the family of the late teenager Tire Sampson has turned out to be unrelated to him, according to their reporting.

The teenager died after a fall from the FreeFall drop tower, an amusement ride that is 131 meters high and descends at 75 miles per hour, according to Orlando’s ICON Park.

The news channel claims the woman was acting under a pseudonym, holding press conferences and collecting signatures online for a petition called “Shay Johnson.”

The outlet also claims that Ms Johnson was one of the organizers of a vigil held outside Orlando’s theme park on Monday, where dozens of mourners turned out to pay their respects to the teenager.

At that vigil, Ms Johnson was quoted as saying in an interview with Click Orlando, where the outlet identified her as the teenager’s cousin and described how she allegedly collected signatures on a petition for the Sampson family during and after the vigil. ClickOrlando later updated its story, noting, “Shay Johnson, a woman who claims to be the cousin of Tire Sampson, who died in a fall while riding a roller coaster in Orlando, has no family ties, the teen’s mother said the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. We have updated our articles to reflect this discrepancy.”

Mandy Duppins, who lives in Orlando and attended the vigil outside ICON Park for 14-year-old Sampson earlier this week, recounted The Independent that she saw the woman claiming to be a member of the Sampson family while she was there with her own son.

“I was there to support,” Ms Duppins said in an interview. “I saw her pretending to be his cousin.”

The Independent contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, who confirmed that detectives who contacted Mr. Sampson’s mother about the woman posing as the family cousin were told by her that “she doesn’t know who Shay Johnson is.” “.

“At this point, they have no evidence of a crime,” the sheriff’s media officer said in an email response.

Lawyers for the family confirmed separately to WFTV that no one in the family knows who she is either.

A last accident report In Tire’s death, it was revealed that Mr. Sampson’s seat belt was buckled and, based on reports from staff, he was dislodged from his seat when magnets began slowing the ride while the drivers dismounted.

During an interview with CNN, Tire’s father, Yarnell Sampson, confided that he believed his son might have been too tall for the ride, saying that “my son was 6ft 5 (196cm) tall and weighed 340 pounds (154kg). . “So he’s a big guy.”

The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has posted the ride’s operations and maintenance manual online, which says the maximum weight for a rider is 130 kg or 287 lbs.

An investigation into the ride’s malfunction is ongoing and in an updated statement from ICON on Monday, they announced another ride would be temporarily out of service.

The Orlando SlingShot, another attraction at the park, will be out of service “pending a thorough investigation by relevant authorities has been completed and all parties are satisfied that the rides are safe for the public.”

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