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A faked death is a case in which an individual leaves evidence to suggest that he or she is dead in order to mislead others. This is done for a variety of reasons, such as to fraudulently collect insurance money or to avoid capture by law enforcement for some other crime.
People who fake their own deaths sometimes do so by pretend drownings, because it provides a plausible reason for the absence of a body. According to a, sometimes credited to an unnamed study, as many as a quarter of suicides from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge in which no body was found could have been faked.
There are several how-to books on the subject of faking one's death, including Get Lost!, How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found, How to Create a New Identity, and The Heavy Duty New Identity.
Notable faked deaths 
- John Stonehouse, a British politician who faked his own suicide by drowning in order to escape financial difficulties and live with his mistress. He was discovered in Australia - where police initially thought he might be Lord Lucan - and jailed.
- "Lord" Timothy Dexter, an eccentric 18th century New England businessman who faked his own death in order to see how people would react. His wife did not shed any tears at the wake, and as a result he caned her for not being sufficiently saddened at his passing.
- Graham Cardwell, a Lincolnshire dockmaster who disappeared in September 1998 and was assumed drowned. Eight months later he was discovered living in secret in the West Midlands. He claimed he had thought he was suffering from cancer (though had not sought medical attention) and wanted to spare his family the trauma of it. He was not prosecuted.
- Alan Kirk Wolford, an American funeral home director who forged his own death certificate in order to evade significant debts.
- Steven Chin Leung, who faked his death in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in order to evade a charge of passport fraud.
- Dorothy Johnson, an American woman who allegedly faked her death in the September 11 attacks in order to collect on insurance claims allegedly filed by her daughter, Twila McKee. Johnson and McKee were charged in 2003 with insurance fraud.[broken citation]
- Ken Kesey, an American author who in 1966 faked his death and fled to Mexico in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid imprisonment on marijuana charges.
- John Darwin, a Briton who disappeared in March 2002 whilst canoeing and was assumed drowned until his discovery and arrest five years later and his trial and conviction the year after.
- Ace Baker, an American composer and 9/11 conspiracy theorist, faked suicide by gunfire while on a live radio show with Jim Fetzer. Baker later admitted the stunt on his blog, calling it a work of performance art, citing his frustration with the rest of the 9/11 Truth Movement.
- Marcus Schrenker.
- Samuel Israel III an American hedge fund manager who was facing twenty years in prison for fraud left his car and a suicide note on the Bear Mountain Bridge in an attempted fake suicide in 2008. A year later he surrendered himself to authorities after tiring of life as a fugitive. It should be noted that it was always suspected that his suicide was faked since, among other things, passerby reported that a car had picked someone up on the bridge from near Israel's abandoned car.
Fictional cases 
- In William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, one of the two titular characters, Juliet Capulet, fakes her own death to avoid marrying Paris, although ultimately, this leads to demise of her lover Romeo Montague and herself.
- Sherlock Holmes pretends that his encounter at the Reichenbach Falls was fatal, in order to go incognito for two years.
- At the end of season 4 of the TV series 24, Jack Bauer stages his own death in order to save his life.
- At the end of season 6 of the TV series Monk, in the episode Mr. Monk Is On The Run, Adrian Monk stages his own death (when he is framed for a murder) to solve the case.
- In the movie You Don't Mess with the Zohan, the main character Zohan Dvir (Adam Sandler) fakes his death during a fight with an enemy to run away to New York to become a hairdresser under the alias "Scrappy Coco."
- In Janet Tashjian's novel The Gospel According to Larry, teen prophet Josh Swensen A.K.A. "Larry," after having his secret identity revealed to the public, cannot handle the pressure of being a celebrity, and he decides to fake his death. He secretly travels to Colorado, switching identities along the way.
- Anne Applebaum. "Getting away from it all". Slate.com. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- Todd, William Cleaves Timothy Dexter. Boston, Massachusetts: David Clapp & Son., 1886: 6.
- Colorado Springs Gazette article on Alan Wolford
- BBC story on Steven Leung
- WBAY story on the McKee case
- The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe