TAMPA — The tale told by the Tampa woman who claims she had a third breast implanted onto her chest created an Internet sensation.
Now that story seems to be unraveling. But the woman who calls herself Jasmine Tridevil isn't backing down.
The woman — she's actually Alisha Jasmine Hessler, 21 — said she paid $20,000 to an unidentified plastic surgeon to perform the procedure. She also hired a camera crew to film her so that she can star in her own MTV reality show.
The weird Florida story du jour went viral on the Web. Snopes.com quickly declared it a hoax. The media hounded her.
Then the smoking gun: A Tampa International Airport police report revealed that Hessler's luggage was among 10 bags stolen last week. When the suitcase was returned to her Sept. 16, airport police noted that there was a "3 breast prosthesis" inside.
That should have been the end of the story. But when confronted with the police report on Tuesday, Hessler stuck to her story.
"This isn't a hoax," she said.
Hessler, though, did not offer any evidence to support her story.
She said she has a video of the surgery but would not show it to a Times reporter.
"I'll prove it to you when MTV accepts the show," she said.
Hessler would not reveal the name of her plastic surgeon. She said the surgeon made her sign a nondisclosure agreement prohibiting her from revealing the doctor's name because, she said, the doctor feared repercussions.
Hessler said the third breast was created using tissue scraped from her abdomen. Dr. Bruce Mast, the chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Florida Department of Surgery, said that while he can see how the procedure could be done, he doubted a surgeon would attempt it.
That surgeon would risk public and professional ridicule, Mast said, as well as the wrath of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
As for the "3 breast prosthesis" police found inside her luggage, Hessler said the surgeon told her to wear it before the procedure, in case she changed her mind. Hessler said she went through with the surgery anyway. So why was she still carrying the prosthesis when the surgery was supposedly months ago? She did not answer that.
In 2013, Hessler was arrested by Tampa police after they said she had a stolen ID. She told officers she bought it for $20 from Craigslist, the report said. The charge of fraudulent use of personal information was dropped after she finished a pretrial program.
Then there's the website for Hessler's massage business, which states: "Provider of internet hoaxes since 2014 … Specialist in massage for three breasted woman."
She said that if MTV doesn't pick up her show, she'll post the surgery video on YouTube.
"I figured that there would be a lot of rumors, but there's nothing I can do about that," Hessler said. "If people don't believe, they don't believe."
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Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Jamal Thalji at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @jthalji.