Police departments across the United States are warning about viral Facebook posts that suggest a serial killer is on the loose.
Often shared in neighbourhood buy and sell groups, the posts are a hoax, agencies throughout the country have said. The posts are usually worded the same except for the town name being changed.
“There’s a serial killer or abductor who is currently hunting in (name of town), my friend was almost taken by him,” the fake posts read. “He drives a truck with led lights and hits cars of women alone and once they pull over he takes them. Multiple disappearances. If you are in the area and you are hit by a truck with led lights keep driving and call the cops. Stay safe.”
Officers in Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, California, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, Colorado have all commented about the posts in their areas being fake. They have even trickled to Canada, where police in Hamilton, Ontario, have said there is no evidence of a serial killer.
One of the fake serial killer images used is of an inmate in Dickson County, Tennessee. The county’s sheriff’s office said in July that the man had walked away from an inmate work crew, but he was later taken into custody.
The sheriff’s office said in a post on Monday, Aug 15, the man remains in custody on charges unrelated to what the viral posts suggest.
“So, like we always say, just because it’s on Facebook, doesn’t mean it’s real,” the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office said.
A Facebook account from Zimbabwe is behind many of the Facebook messages about the serial killer, according to the Moline, Illinois, Police Department.
“It appears (he) is bored in his parent’s basement and they don’t take away his phone at night so instead of scrolling through TikToks like everyone else, he is attempting to incite fear in our community,” the Moline Police Department said.
“We will not allow it, this post is fake and we ask that if you see the post to click on the upper right hand corner and report the post as fake to the group administrators in which the fake post appears.” – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service