Ontario police assure that there is not actually a serial killer on the loose
If, like many in the GTHA, you've seen a certain widely-shared social media post about a serial killer that is apparently on the loose in Southern Ontario, local police want you to know that there is not actually any cause for concern.
The terrifying rumour began in the form of an iMessage conversation between two unnamed individuals, one of them claiming that a paramedic friend had informed them that "there is a serial killer targeting tattooed women in their 30s-40s in the Halton-Hamilton areas" and that police and media would be "reporting on this soon."
The person alleges that the crimes have been ongoing for some months, and encourages the message recipient to share the information to warn others to stay vigilant.
"Wish this was a joke but heads up to my fellow tattooed women. Also four missing in the Niagara region as of the past few weeks, just confirmed" someone wrote over the conversation in one version of an Instagram story that was reposted many times.
Others, of course, added their own cautions and comments atop the story as it was shared without sources.
The story spread so widely that Hamilton Police felt they had to issue a formal statement on the matter late last week, reassuring the public in a press release that the claims are false.
We are aware of a viral social media post alleging an investigation into a serial killer in Hamilton/Halton. Investigators confirm there is no evidence to connect outstanding missing persons in #HamOnt or neighbouring cities at this time. Read More: https://t.co/FjrtRuk11L— Hamilton Police (@HamiltonPolice) April 7, 2022
"Hamilton Police are aware of a viral social media post circulating alleging an ongoing investigation into a serial killer in the Hamilton-Halton area," the force wrote on Thursday.
"Investigators can confirm there is no evidence to suggest there are connections between outstanding missing persons in Hamilton or our neighbouring police services at this time."
Authorities then go on to detail two missing persons cases: one Stacie Raspberry, last seen in Niagara on Feb. 19, and Emily Bailey, last seen in Hamilton on Jan. 10. The latter is indeed being investigated by the city's homicide unit.
While they are asking for anyone with information on either disappearance to come forward, they do not believe the events to be related to any sort of serial killer; or at least, there is nothing to connect the missing persons "at this time."
Police are also asking for any intel on the origin of the misleading posts.
But, you can't blame people for wanting to share such pertinent news and keep one another safe, which is something that social media is inherently a great tool for.
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