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The Kidney Thieves (Austin)

Netlore Archive: Via forwarded email, 1997 eruption of the organ snatching myth set in Austin, Texas

Description: Urban legend
Circulating since: 1997 (this version)
Status: False


Email example contributed November 1997:

---------- Forwarded message ----------

This story came from the "Daily Texan" - the University of Texas newspaper. Apparently it occured during Fall Premier - a UT tradition that is a celebration of the end of midterms.

"Reason to not party anymore"

This guy went out last Saturday night to a party. He was having a good time, had a couple of beers and some girl seemed to like him and invited him to go to another party. He quickly agreed and decided to go along with her. She took him to a party in some apartment and they continued to drink, and even got involved with some other drugs (unknown which).

The next thing he knew, he woke up completely naked in a bathtub filled with ice. He was still feeling the effects of the drugs, but looked around to see he was alone. He looked down at his chest, which had "CALL 911 OR YOU WILL DIE" written on it in lipstick.

He saw a phone was on a stand next to the tub, so he picked it up and dialed. He explained to the EMS operator what the situation was and that he didn't know where he was, what he took, or why he was really calling.

She advised him to get out of the tub. He did, and she asked him to look himself over in the mirror. He did, and appeared normal, so she told him to check his back. He did, only to find two 9 inch slits on his lower back. She told him to get back in the tub immediately, and they sent a rescue team over.

Apparently, after being examined, he found out more of what had happened. His kidneys were stolen. They are worth 10,000 dollars each on the black market. (I was unaware this even existed.) Several guesses are in order: The second party was a sham, the people involved had to be at least medical students, and it was not just recreational drugs he was given.

Regardless, he is currently in the hospital on life support, awaiting a spare kidney. The University of Texas in conjunction with Baylor University Medical Center is conducting tissue research to match the sophomore student with a donor.

I wish to warn you about a new crime ring that is targeting business travelers. This ring is well organized, well funded, has very skilled personnel, and is currently in most major cities and recently very active in New Orleans. The crime begins when a business traveler goes to a lounge for a drink at the end of the work day. A person in the bar walks up as they sit alone and offers to buy them a drink. The last thing the traveler remembers until they wake up in a hotel room bath tub, their body submerged to their neck in ice, is sipping that drink.

There is a note taped to the wall instructing them not to move and to call 911. A phone is on a small table next to the bathtub for them to call. The business traveler calls 911 who have become quite familiar with this crime. The business traveler is instructed by the 911 operator to very slowly and carefully reach behind them and feel if there is a tube protruding from their lower back. The business traveler finds the tube and answers, "Yes." The 911 operator tells them to remain still, having already sent paramedics to help.

The operator knows that both of the business traveler's kidneys have been harvested.

This is not a scam or out of a science fiction novel, it is real. It is documented and confirmable. If you travel or someone close to you travels, please be careful. Sadly, this is very true. My husband is a Houston firefighter/EMT and they have received alerts regarding this crime ring. It is to be taken very seriously. The daughter of a friend of a fellow firefighter had this happen to her. Skilled doctor's are performing these crimes! (which, by the way have been highly noted in the Las Vegas area). Additionally, the military has received alerts regarding this. This story blew me away. I really want as many people to see this as possible so please bounce this to whoever you can.


Comments: The University of Texas Daily Texan, in which the above item allegedly appeared, ran an editorial on November 20, 1997 stating, in part:

Apparently, a message titled "A reason not to party anymore" is circling the globe. The message's anonymous author claims that The Texan ran an article reporting that a group of organized crime members -- kidney thieves -- is roaming about the country and slipping drugs into innocent college students' drinks... It never happened. Not at the University, not in Austin, not in a plane, not in a train, not even in a box or with a fox... The kidney theft story is an urban myth. Don't believe it. If you get e-mail about it, please respond and tell the sender the truth.
For a point-by-point debunking of organ theft rumors and links to further information, see our related feature, "The Kidney Thieves."


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