He called himself an Oakland Occupier and a military vet, and he served up a dramatic first-person story that appeared on Truthdig and elsewhere in the media. But now his mini-essay has been retracted: “Leo Webb” may not exist.

On Tuesday, Truthdig’s A/V Booth ran an item featuring a link to an audio originated by American Public Media’s “Marketplace” radio program. (Click here for a transcript.) By Wednesday, “Marketplace” had removed the audio clip from its website, saying that a number of assertions made in the account could not be verified.

Webb had claimed that while he was camping at Occupy Oakland he went to a store and found himself in the middle of a shooting in which a man was killed. He went on in the essay to complain about the failure of his dream of becoming a baseball star and about being cast aside by society after he left the Army. Now “Marketplace” says the Army has no record of Leo Webb, nor does the baseball club that he said he had played for.

One of the bloggers following this story is The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, who credits the This Ain’t Hell website with revealing the deception.

For the record, with the exception of the audio link, here’s Truthdig’s entire original report: “From Iraq to Rite Aid: A Sniper’s Struggle / Iraq veteran Leo Webb survived a war only to find himself in the middle of a drugstore shootout.”

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