Timothy Michael Poe, the stuttering, wounded ex-military man who captured the country's hearts during Monday's airing of America's Got Talent has been exposed as a fraud.
Poe, 35, of San Antonio, Tex., told judges Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel that he suffered a brain injury while serving in Afghanistan in 2009 and that he discovered his signing voice through the speech pathologist he was seeing to help the stutter he said he acquired from the injury.
I saw [a grenade] coming down and by the time I turned and went to jump on top of my guys, I yell, 'Grenade!,' and the blast had hit me, Poe recounted.
I didn't know I could really sing until my speech pathologist told me that to help my stutter, she said to sing in the shower, Poe told the America's Got Talent judges in the episode that aired Monday night. So that's what I did.
Video of Poe stuttering, retelling his story and his performance can be seen below.
The only problem is the heart-wrenching story Timothy Michael Poe told the America's Got Talent audience is a lie.
Sgt. Poe's official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports, Minnesota National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Kevin Olson said in a statement.
Katy Edwards, who says her sister has a child with Timothy Michael Poe, also said the aspiring country singer's story was made up.
He never actually fought in Afghanistan. He did break his back but it was in Georgia when he was in training to go on a deployment. On this particular deployment he landed in Afghanistan, got an ear infection and was medevac'd out to Germany, Edwards said in an e-mail to IBTimes. While in Germany he refused to go back to the war and was brought back to the United States. His unit lost a soldier that deployment and are incredibly upset by the stories he made up [Monday] night.
Edwards said she was appalled that Poe would fabricate such a story on national television.
What he did last night was a slap in the face to all our great servicemen and women, she said. The most disgusting fact of all is that Tim doesn't even have a stutter. My sister has a child with him. I have personally spoken with him several times in the last year and he is completely healthy and fine.
Poe served in the Minnesota National Guard as a supply specialist from December 2002 through May 2011, according to records obtained by the Associated Press. He served in Kosova in 2007 and 2008 and served in Afghanistan for a brief period in 2009.