An Ohio man sent out a gruesome photo of his fiancee in a bathtub with what looked like blood spattered everywhere and a knife sticking out of her, causing mass panic and three calls to police from his family and friends.
But it was all staged, and now the couple is paying the price (warning: graphic photos below).
After 911 calls from three "hysterical" family members on March 9, police were dispatched to the home of Nataleigh Schlette and Micah Risner, the Daily Mail reports.
After discovering the murder scene had been staged, police arrested and charged Schlette and Risner with inducing panic.
"She got into the bathtub, and they put ketchup all over to make it look like he murdered her," Sandusky, Ohio, police Sgt. Dawn Allen said, according to the Sandusky Register. "He started sending the picture and texting that he did it."
Inducing panic is defined as starting or spreading information about an alleged crime with full knowledge that the information is false, notes U.S. Legal.
"Please help me!" Risner texted his sister along with one of the photos of his wife playing dead and smothered in ketchup, according to the Daily Mail. "I really didn't mean to. I don't remember. We was arguing and I woke up to this."
His sister texted back, "What [the f***] is she dead Micah?? Answer me now!!"
He told her that he "woke up on the bathroom floor" covered in blood "and her like that." He then said he was attempting to clean up the mess, but was unsure if that was the correct move.
His sister then warned him that someone called the police and urged him to delete any evidence from his phone.
"We sent a lot of people there," police chief John Orzech, who called the incident a very "bad joke," said. "The mother that had called us on 911 was very distraught thinking this was real."
"No point running and making things worse," Risner wrote in a Facebook post in which he said the police had a warrant for his arrest. "I messed up and did some things I shouldn't have. But now I have to face the consequences of my actions ... If I could turn back time, I'm not sure I would change things cause at least I know I did what I thought needed to be done at the time and I'm ok with that."
He thanked his family and friends who would "stick by" him "no matter what" he did.
"I'm gonna miss every single one of you that I knew and that treated me like family," he added before fessing up to the joke. "I promise to get better and do better, especially because this isn't real and you should post it as your status and see how many people actually read stuff till the end before they fall for it."