(Update: Fox News has retracted its story about Seth Rich and WikiLeaks. Read more detail here.)
The family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich is pushing back on a report by Fox News which claims Rich was the source of thousands of emails given to WikiLeaks right before he was murdered.
Rich, 27, was gunned down in Washington D.C. on July 10 in what police has determined a botched robbery.
But Rod Wheeler – a Fox News contributor hired by a third party to investigate the case — says Rich was murdered for a different reason and he has evidence to prove it.
“My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” Wheeler, a Fox News contributor, said in an interview Fox News. “I do believe that the answers to who murdered Seth Rich sits on his computer on a shelf at the D.C police or FBI headquarters… Someone within the D.C. government, DNC or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward.”
Wheeler is suggesting that the murder was not accidental. News reports on Fox have called the development a “bombshell” and claim the theory has been corroborated by a federal investigator who spoke to Fox News.
Rod Wheeler suggested the Metropolitan Police Department attempted to cover up the nature of Rich’s death on behalf of the DNC, which the police department denied on Tuesday, tweeting: “DC Police say Wheeler’s assertion that detectives instructed to stand down regarding Rich case is false.”
The report was featured on a flurry of right-leaning outlets, including Breitbart News, the Drudge Report, and the “Fox & Friends.”
Rich’s family said Wheeler is not authorized to speak for the family and called his claims “unsubstantiated.”
“It’s sad but unsurprising that a group of media outlets who have repeatedly lied to the American people would try and manipulate the legacy of a murder victim in order to forward their own political agenda,” a spokesman for the Rich family told Business Insider. “I think there is a special place in hell for people like that.”
The Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch told TheWrap in a statement: “The Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Homicide Branch is actively investigating Mr. Rich’s murder and we continue to work with the family to bring closure to this case as we do with all homicide investigations. If there are any individuals who feel they have information, we urge them to call us at 202-727-9099 or text us at 50411. The department is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information on this case that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. “
In March, Seth’s brother, Aaron Rich, started a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $200,000 to help find his brother’s killers. So far, about $20,000 have been donated.
“Many people have used my brother’s murder for their own agendas,” he wrote. “Every few weeks another conspiracy theory surfaces, another promise of credible information and another lack of evidence to support the crazy claims being made.”