The Sideshow

Police arrest man after mistaking him for dead twin brother

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

An innocent man was arrested and jailed for nearly two days for a crime allegedly committed by his now-dead twin brother.

"If they would've trusted me, if they would've given me the benefit of the doubt, if they would've done that, none of this would've happened," Mitch Torbett tells local TV affiliate WRCB about his experience.

The confusion began when Torbett was seeking a construction permit in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. However, when local officials brought up Torbett's paperwork they instead found what they thought was a warrant for his arrest.

"After running my driver's license, [they] said that perhaps I had a federal warrant for my arrest," Torbett told WRCB. "I quickly realized I wasn't being detained for fingerprints, but rather being arrested."

Signal Mountain police then detained Torbett not realizing it was actually his twin brother Mike who was wanted for the alleged crime. Mike Torbett has since died.

"I saw his name and I realized that I was in trouble, big trouble," Torbett said.

Torbett spent 36 hours in prison before the FBI showed up with plans to extradite him back to Louisiana, where the alleged crime took place. Torbett was then brought before a judge, where the FBI offered fingerprints from both Mitch and Mike Torbett.

"She said, 'your honor, we have the wrong person. He needs to be released immediately,'" Torbett said

Torbett is now working with an attorney to file a civil suit against the Signal Mountain Police Department and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office over false imprisonment and emotional distress. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office says Mike Torbett may have falsely given his brother's name when he was arrested. However, WRCB notes that the court affidavit lists "Mike Torbett," not Mitch.

"I turned into my identical twin, deceased brother," Torbett says. "Emotionally, I can't even put it into words."

The story comes in sharp contrast to a much happier story of twins we wrote about in Sideshow yesterday. Twelve pairs of identical and fraternal twins are about to graduate from a high school in Georgia, while another 14 sets of twins are currently enrolled as sophomores at one Illinois high school.

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