The Source is washing its hands of the Tim Dog controversy. The increasingly bizarre story of his death was spearheaded by the publication, which has abandoned the report amid claims that the whole story is an elaborate scheme by the allegedly deceased to get out of paying back $2 million in debt.
A writer for Noisey did some investigating into the man born Timothy Blair's whereabouts, but couldn't seem to find him. There was however correspondence with two women he scammed, and a coroner in Atlanta—the last known city the "F-ck Compton" rapper is said to have lived—all of whom gave potential proof of the rumored hoax.
What's more, an employee at The Source (speaking under the condition of anonymity) confirmed that the outlet's original story breaking news of Tim Dog's death was untrue. With no coroner's statement or details into his alleged passing by way of a seizure, speculation over its validity was loud enough for the story to be removed from its website. "After several weeks of things going on, he went back to the office and told us that the guy was hiding or something," the employee said of the author. "I don't know what happened—some financial or legal issues. From there, you know. They're looking for him."
The staffer also responded "I can't tell you that," when asked why the story was removed.
Meanwhile, The Source writer Sha Be Allah who penned the original death announcement side-stepped the controversy maintaining that he has no loyalty in the situation. "I don't know that motherf---er. Make sure you print that," he said.
According to Sha the death information came from a "family member" and one of Tim's "close friends," which is why he didn't dig deeper.
"As a journalist, if you hear somebody died you just wanna make sure somebody else said it too and it's not just something you heard. When ODB died I didn't go looking for a death certificate."
Not looking for a death certificate is one thing, but leaving out official details is another. When putting together similar stories its customary for reporters to pull statements from a coroner's office or police report, family members, friends and others. None of which was done by The Source. But, that doesn't necessarily mean the company knowingly participated in any wrongdoing.
In speaking with the women Tim was indebted to, Noisey thinly veiled the motivation to potentially disappear. He scammed one woman, Esther Pilgrim, out of $20,000, which he was ordered to pay back in $100 monthly increments. "He set me up on a fictitious business deal to invest in a 5-CD box set," she explained. "I had a son who was starting college and I was concerned about having enough money to pay for it."
The Bronx rapper later pleaded guilty to grand larceny and was given probation. He made payments up until news of his "passing."
Another woman, Danielle Sellhorst of Holland was also tricked. The two met on Myspace in 2006, and Sellhorst was eventually coerced into giving him money and her credit, to start a business that "didn't exist." They worked together for six months, making preparations, selling tickets and booking venues for what turned out to be a fictitious Black male exotic dancer European tour.
"Everything was in my name," Sellhorst said. "Three months before the show, he said on the phone, 'Did you really think there was a show?' I was having second thoughts. I was asking him questions, I was printing out emails and recording conversations. He was feeling that I wasn't trusting him anymore. That made him nervous. He said, 'I could care less what happens to you,' and left me with all of the bills and all of the troubles. The cops were coming after me. People who had bought tickets to the show were coming after me. He gave them my address, my everything."
In Dec. 2009, Tim Dog left a message threatening Sellhorst for trying to "hurt" his company, and vowed to strike first. "I will hurt you before you hurt me."
Dead or alive, the rapper has a warrant out for his arrest.
"In the eye of the law, until he is proven dead, they have to treat him as if he is alive," Pilgrim pointed out.