Local law enforcement officials on Wednesday took the unusual step of publicly squelching a rumor making the rounds on social media about a serial killer being on the loose in Fresno.
The rumor claimed that five women have gone missing in the Fresno area in the last three days. It claimed their cars were abandoned and that the bodies of two women have been found.
“This is completely untrue,” Fresno police Lt. Burke Farrah said. “As the commander of the Fresno Police Department Homicide Unit, I can confidently assure you that no such cases have occurred. Whoever has perpetuated this hoax is attempting to spread fear throughout our community. Please do not buy into the hoax.”
The Fresno County Sheriff’s office said that one woman was found dead after going missing and one woman is still missing.
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“To put things into perspective, there have been two recent missing persons cases in our area. One is the discovery of Alicia Haro, a Fresno woman whose death does not appear to be criminal,” said Tony Botti, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office. “We are still awaiting results of a toxicology test to determine an exact cause. Secondly, the Tulare County Sheriff's Office is searching for Cecilia Bravo Cabrera, a 30-year-old woman who recently went missing after visiting Tachi Palace in Lemoore.”
Botti said people have made unwarranted claims online.
“Unfortunately there are some in the community who choose to incite fear without any basis,” Botti said. “We encourage the public to monitor credible news outlets and government agencies to get accurate information and not fall into the trap of rumors, which happens much too frequently on the internet.”