Loretta Fuddy was killed when the Makani Kai Air plane crashed off Molokai, and the pilot was able to make an emergency water landing. The pilot and the seven other passengers survived; Fuddy was the sole fatality.
Although the cause of Fuddy's death has yet to be officially determined, skeptics were quick to point to foul play on the part of the Obama administration.
Chief among them was the birther movement's most prominent member, Donald Trump.
How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s “birth certificate” died in plane crash today. All others lived— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2013
In a bizarrely formatted statement, birther "Queen Bee" Orly Taitz seemed to take some credit in forcing the president's hand, claiming he acted out of fear of her efforts to bring lawsuits proving Obama's birth certificate was forged:
"Within hours after Attorney Orly Taitz published a press release of Johanna Ah’Nee-Randolph’s 'control' birth certificate showing the same evidence of forgery and backdating as Obama’s alleged birth certificate, which was certified as genuine by director of Health of HI Loretta Fuddy, it was announced that Loretta Fuddy was the only passenger to die in a small plane accident. Attorney Taitz calls on 8 courts and judges who received her cases to rule expeditiously on the merits and review the evidence of forgery and theft in Obama’s IDs before more people die in strange accidents."
And they're not alone. Skeptics posted their theories on Twitter, wondering if Obama was "tying up loose ends" or if Fuddy "knew something."
Not at all convinced Fuddy death was a vast left wing conspiracy but gosh, it does seem curious she's the ONLY one who died, huh? #birther— Annie (@bloodless_coup) December 13, 2013
All nine on the plane survived the crash & were floating in the water w/life jackets on. Suddenly Fuddy just died. Others all went home fine— Carl (@CrushTheCFR) December 13, 2013
So after Loretta Fuddy verified copies of Obama's birth certificate she dies in a plane crash today. All others survived #coincidence ?— shagaf (@simpletruelove) December 13, 2013
@clydelewis a pilot HAPPENED to see wreckage in the remote location So Fuddy was either murdered or in witness protection There was no crash— SantaBarbara Dianne (@93101Dianne) December 13, 2013
Obama's birth certificate was released to the public, with Fuddy's approval, in April 2011. At the time, the president acknowledged even the official record would not put to rest the the most suspicious of birthers.
"I know that there's going to be a segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest," he said.
And how right he was.