MANAGUA—Tragic news out of Central America today as producers of the popular Discovery Channel reality show “Naked and Afraid” were horrified to find that a contestant was cannibalized on air by a fellow show participant. Assailant Steve Whealen was said to have succumbed to the effects of severe starvation and what authorities are calling “an extreme case of the marijuana munchies” before feasting on victim Toby Ewing.
Whealen was taken into custody after producers of the show and local law enforcement watched the entire event play out on the “diary cam” used to record the show member’s daily activities. In a police interview, the defendant revealed that harsh environmental conditions and lack of food – combined with smoking copious amounts of weed he’d found growing wild in the hills of Nicaragua – pushed him to commit the savage act.
“Look man, I’m not proud of what I did,” confessed Whealen, “but I was so hungry and that dude’s thigh muscle looked so damn meaty. And I’m not gonna lie – I was high as a fucking kite.”
Authorities surmised that the marijuana field was likely left abandoned to flourish in the jungle after guerrilla growers were forced out of the area during the rebel insurgency of the late 1980s. Whealen explained to police that he’d stumbled upon the location while unsuccessfully chasing a lizard he hoped to catch and eat.
Reviewing the rough-cut show reel, police and show producers managed to piece together a timeline that led up to the horrific events. “At first the two men seemed to work well together,” said line producer Gary Pierson. “They made a small shelter and managed to build a fire, pretty cooperative efforts for a couple of strangers. Then it appears Whealen soon discovered the marijuana plantation… and that’s when everything fell apart.”
The footage reportedly reveals a frustrated Ewing, eventually quite annoyed and disappointed by the lack of effort from his partner Whealen, railing against his co-contestant. “Steve does nothing but smoke that marijuana all day long and stare at my legs! It’s really creepy,” complained Ewing into his diary-cam lens. “The only thing he has any enthusiasm for is creating those stupid little pipes out of tree bark. Oh – and fire… he seems to LOVE fire… he never lets it go out!”
In a statement to police, Whealen very matter-of-factly detailed how he used a machete, his one “survival item” allowed by the show, to kill and field-dress Ewing. “His meat was actually quite delicious, almost peppery,” said Whealen, who is a private chef by profession. “I used dried coconut to bread the filets, dipping them in a papaya marinade, and cooked him on a skewer… like kabobs.”
Producers were first tipped off that something had gone awry when Whealen and Ewing failed to reach their extraction point on the scheduled day of departure. A search party located Whealen sitting alone in his shelter, happy as a clam toking away on a joint he rolled using the paper thin bark of the indigenous janaro tree. Next to him was what appeared to be Ewing’s charred foot and a pile of teeth.
“Most people can’t wait to get rescued and are relieved when the day comes for them to be airlifted out, but not him!” one searcher recalled. “We practically had to force Steve into our Jeep. And even then, he refused to leave without his bundle of pipes and a huge armful of that Nicaraguan ganja.”
When asked if he felt remorse for the loss of his show colleague, Whealen admitted affectionately, “Yeah, Toby was a good dude. Very tender….”
-By Marcia Thomas