Pulse victim's pictures used by 'catfisher'

Woman claims man used Shane Tomlinson's picture as his own

ORLANDO, Fla. – A woman is outraged after she said she was duped on a dating website by a man using pictures of one of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Ashley Pickenpack told News 6 she lives in North Carolina, and she was watching the coverage of the Pulse shooting on her local news when she saw a picture of Shane Tomlinson. She said it matched a picture of a man she knew as Thomas Gregory, who claimed to live in England.

She said she met Gregory on the Plenty of Fish dating website in April.

"I'm literally talking online and on the phone and in a relationship with this person," she said.

She told News 6 Gregory sent her several pictures that he claimed were of him. He even sent her video that he said showed him and some friends singing. News 6 found all of those pictures and the video on Tomlinson's Instagram page.

"He's telling me he loves me. He wants to be with me. He wants to be part of our family. All of the above. And at this point, I am sick to my stomach," Pickenpack said.

News 6 talked to Tomlinson's best friend, Jai Saint, who said this is the second time something like this has happened to Tomlinson since his death. He said someone else used his pictures as their own on a Facebook page last year.

Pickenpack said she filed a police report in North Carolina on Tuesday, and News 6 contacted the U.S. attorney's office. They said an agent with the FBIwould be very interested in examining the case.


Pickenpack said she has a message for the man who duped her: "You don't manipulate someone going through emotions and playing with your heart. You're also messing with the deceased member of a family? How can you live with yourself?"

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013. He is one of the station’s lead reporters. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.