Live: Samsung Unpacked Live Updates Galaxy S23 Ultra First Look Apple's iOS 16.3 Release 9 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month Best Indoor Plants HomePod 2nd-Gen Review 12 Best Cardio Workouts Salami, Sausage Recalled
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

Man googles self, finds out he's murder suspect

A University of Florida student searches for his name on Google and discovers his photo was mistakenly released in connection with a murder.

If we want to find out what the world thinks about us, we google. There, we find every reference to our delicate beings. Well, every reference that we can't find on Facebook.

Please imagine, then, the mental entertainment that played itself out behind Zachary Garcia's forehead, when he googled himself and happened to notice that he was being accused of murder.

No, he was not being accused by some crazy former lover or fellow University of Florida student attempting to enter the Prankdom Hall of Fame.

It was the Polk County Sheriff's Office, which reportedly mistakenly released his driver's license photo in connection with a murder.

According to WTSP 10, Garcia's first reaction when he saw his picture being displayed as that of someone being charged with murder, was to call his mom in the middle of the night to tell her that he feared being kicked out of school and losing his two jobs "or worse."

This was not because he had actually committed any murder. He is, reportedly, an excellent student and fine citizen.

However, he seems to have been confused him with Zachery (with an "e") Garcia, who was allegedly one of four teens involved in a house burglary that resulted in one of them, 15-year-old Otilio Rubio, dying from gunshot wounds.

Because Rubio died while a felony was being committed, all of his alleged accomplices were charged with felony murder.

Zachary (with an "a") Garcia told WTSP10: "I was just very shocked to find my picture and the article saying that I was convicted of a felony murder charge. And I was just very shocked and angry that someone put my name up there and said I did something I didn't do."

Perhaps you might already be wondering what on earth the Polk County Sheriff's Office might have been thinking.

Some might wonder whether this was just a troubling error. Oddly, Zachary Garcia shares the same birthday (but different birth year) with the accused. Still, some might also wonder whether Zachary Garcia might enjoy a little recourse for the fact that his image was displayed in so many news programs as that of an alleged murderer.

However, some light might have been shed by a commenter at WTSP10, who claims to be his mom. Given the tenor of her comment, I have no reason to believe that she is anything other than his mom.

Having thanked the sympathetic commenters, she wrote: "When I called Polk County Sheriff, they asked me if it was on their website and I said no but it was on every news and media channel in Tampa and Orlando. They told me that the news stations obtained the photo on their own. Then I called a news channel and they said oh no, we got it from them. Anyways, my son is now being interviewed by alot of different people. I know this is not over and I really don't know what to do. Any suggestions?"

WTSP10 says that Zachary Garcia's mom is working with her son to remove all Web traces of his name being associated with this murder. To which some might offer that their chances are slimmer than the gaps between false teeth.

Perhaps there will be many concerned readers who will, however, have some wise suggestions, either for Zachary Garcia or, indeed, for the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

The department is currently reticent about commenting on what seems like a difficult faux pas.

Perhaps it is reviewing its procedures for releasing images of murder suspects. Or perhaps it is attempting to google WikiUnLeaks, to see whether that which has seeped out can ever be wiped away.