The criminal case against former Survivor contestant Jonny Fairplay — who was arrested on larceny charges in December along with his mother, Patsy Hall, and accused of stealing from his grandmother Jean Cook — has been dropped.
A Pittsylvania County clerk confirmed to PEOPLE that the cases against Fairplay (real name Jon Dalton) and Hall have been dismissed. (The clerk’s office did not immediately respond to EW’s inquiries Friday.)
Fairplay said in a statement to EW on Friday, “On December 15, 2020, my mother and I were charged with grand larceny in Pittsylvania County Virginia. These warrants were issued based on the statements of a disgruntled family member. No investigation was done by law enforcement. Today the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Pittsylvania County found there was insufficient evidence to proceed and nolle prossed/dismissed the charges. We are disappointed that this ever was allowed to happen and relieved that it is over. Love to Jean Cook… aka dead grandma.”
Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images Jonny Fairplay on ‘Survivor’
According to the arrest information report, Fairplay and Hall were taken into police custody in Danville, Va., on Dec. 18 after allegedly stealing furniture (including barstools, a leather chair, and an end table) and a silver necklace valued at $ 5,000 from Cook’s home without proper consent. Hall was also accused of being mentally abusive and taking advantage of Cook’s dementia. The criminal complaint was reportedly filed by Fairplay’s aunt.
Fairplay is best known for his first time competing on the CBS reality competition series Survivor, back in 2003, when he orchestrated what host Jeff Probst called the “greatest lie ever told on Survivor.” During the “loved ones” visit, Fairplay had a friend pretend to break the news that his grandmother had died in order to get sympathy from the other competitors and win the reward. He immediately revealed in a one-on-one interview that his grandmother was actually alive and “sitting home watching Jerry Springer right now” — the same grandmother involved in the larceny case.
“The ‘Dead Grandma’ lie is still considered one of the greatest moves in the history of not just Survivor, but reality television as a whole,” Fairplay told EW last year. “I wanted to bring an outside element to the game and create the first reality villain. There had been ‘bad guys’ prior to me on reality TV, but they never sought out that personification. They claimed bad editing or creative storytelling. I embraced the role and reveled in it.”
Additional reporting by Dalton Ross.