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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 9, 2022

No, five children didn’t disappear from a Chuck E. Cheese

If Your Time is short

  • This isn’t an authentic USA Today headline. 

  • We found no evidence this ever happened. 

A newspaper headline about missing children at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant might dissuade parents from planning their children’s next birthday party there. 

"5 children have gone missing inside a Chuck E. Cheese. Parents report smells coming…" reads what looks like an abbreviated USA Today headline spreading on social media. 

An Instagram post sharing the image was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Featured Fact-check

We found no such headline on USA Today’s website, nor any evidence that the newspaper reported on children missing at the restaurant, which has nearly 600 locales in the U.S. and abroad. Searching for the headline online led us to meme websites — not credible news reports or other sources corroborating the supposed headline. 

We did find a 2020 USA Today story that used the same photo of a Chuck E. Cheese sign as the one that appeared in the Instagram post, but that article was about 34 of the chain restaurant’s locations closing. 

We rate claims that five children disappeared at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant Pants on Fire! 


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No, five children didn’t disappear from a Chuck E. Cheese

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