Portrait of a Dead Man

When John Darwin, the its publication by the Daily Mirror prompted a feeding frenzy in the British Press and elicited a confession from the missus, as widely reported.

When John Darwin, the "back from the dead" canoeist, turned himself in to British authorities five years after disappearing and claimed he'd suffered a bad case of amnesia, his story seemed a bit, well, fishy. But it was a photograph, and the power of Google, that got him arrested for fraud. The picture (above left) shows Darwin with his wife and is dated July 2006; its publication by the Daily Mirror prompted a feeding frenzy in the British Press and elicited a confession from the missus, as widely reported. Initial stories (such as this one by Time) included the possibility that the photo was rigged: "We all know it is not too difficult, in this digital age, to doctor photographs," said police spokesman Tony Hutchinson. But the image's date, like the photo itself, was recorded on the Web — and traced by a British woman using Google, according to this report. Funny how a single photo can undo a web of lies. Given their names and suspected deeds, the couple should definitely be eligible for next year's Darwin Awards. — Jack Crager

ADVERTISEMENT