Poe, 35, of San Antonio, Tex., told judges Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel that he suffered a brain injury while serving in Afghanistan in 2009 and that he discovered his signing voice through the speech pathologist he was seeing to help the stutter he said he acquired from the injury."I saw coming down and by the time I turned and went to jump on top of my guys, I yell, 'Grenade!,' and the blast had hit me," Poe recounted.
"I didn't know I could really sing until my speech pathologist told me that to help my stutter, she said to sing in the shower," Poe told the "America's Got Talent" judges in the episode that aired Monday night. "So that's what I did."
Video of Poe stuttering, retelling his story and his performance can be seen below.The only problem is the heart-wrenching story Timothy Michael Poe told the "America's Got Talent" audience is a lie.
"Sgt. Poe's official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports," Minnesota National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Kevin Olson said in a statement.
Katy Edwards, who says her sister has a child with Timothy Michael Poe, also said the aspiring country singer's story was made up.
"He never actually fought in Afghanistan. He did break his back but it was in Georgia when he was in training to go on a deployment. On this particular deployment he landed in Afghanistan, got an ear infection and was medevac'd out to Germany," Edwards said in an e-mail to IBTimes. "While in Germany he refused to go back to the war and was brought back to the United States. His unit lost a soldier that deployment and are incredibly upset by the stories he made up [Monday] night."
Edwards said she was appalled that Poe would fabricate such a story on national television.
"What he did last night was a slap in the face to all our great servicemen and women," she said. "The most disgusting fact of all is that Tim doesn't even have a stutter. My sister has a child with him. I have personally spoken with him several times in the last year and he is completely healthy and fine."
Poe served in the Minnesota National Guard as a supply specialist from December 2002 through May 2011, according to records obtained by the Associated Press. He served in Kosova in 2007 and 2008 and served in Afghanistan for a brief period in 2009.
It now appears that these claims were completely fabricated.
It was first reported on the Reality TV blog Rickey.org that Poe's military records do not match his story. Poe did served in the Minnesota National Guard as a supply specialist, albeit for five years fewer than Poe claimed on AGT.
In a released statement, the Minnesota National Guard asserted that "Sgt. Poe's official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports."
But, according to multiple people, his story is entirely false.
Poe, who is from San Antonio and auditioned on the show in Austin, said on the show Tuesday he was in the National Guard and was injured from a grenade blast in Afghanistan. The injury left him with brain damage that affects his speech, often causing him to stutter. But when he sings, the stutter disappears.
But several sources have questioned and even gone as far to say his claims are fraudulent.
Minnesota National Guard Lt. Col. Kevin Olson released this statement to multiple outlets today:
His military records indicate that he served with the Minnesota National Guard in Kosovo from Oct. 10, 2007 until July 15, 2008, and was deployed to Afghanistan from July 28, 2009 to Aug. 30, 2009. Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports. he Minnesota National Guard can also confirm that he was not awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds sustained in combat.”
His ex-wife told the New York Post: ”There were no combat injuries. I think he developed a ‘feel sorry for me’ stutter.”
Poe told TMZ he could not release any evidence supporting his case due to legal reasons, but he plans to sue his ex-wife and others for telling the media he was lying.
In case you missed it, here is Poe’s audition on America’s Got Talent: