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- Both the Seattle Police Department and King County Sheriff’s Office said they are not investigating serial killings.
Social media posts fueled alarming claims that Seattle-area authorities are investigating a possible serial killer.
"King County detectives have been notifying locals about a serial killer in Seattle right now," an Oct. 15 Instagram post read. "Multiple women’s bodies have been discovered recently in the Burien and SODO area, apparently posed in the same way."
SODO is an acronym for a Seattle neighborhood known as "south of downtown." Burien is a suburban city about 10 miles south of downtown. Four women had been killed, the post’s caption said.
None of this is accurate, according to local law enforcement.
The post was flagged as part of Instagram’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
The Seattle Police Department issued a statement Oct. 15 from its Twitter account.
"We’ve received a number of inquiries about this," the tweet said. "Seattle PD does *not* have any serial cases."
On Monday, Detective Patrick Michaud confirmed to PolitiFact that the claim was baseless and that Seattle police are not investigating any suspected serial killings.
"Nothing has changed since we addressed this online," Michaud said. "Seattle PD does not have any serial homicide cases."
The King County Sheriff’s Office, whose jurisdiction includes the two locales referenced in the original Instagram post, issued its own statement on Twitter on Oct. 16.
"We are aware of unverified online social media reports that select death investigations, in the vicinity of South Park/SR 509, may share similar characteristics," the tweet said. "At this time, the Sheriff’s Office has identified no evidence affirming this for any cases under our jurisdiction."
An Instagram post claimed that Seattle-area law enforcement agencies were investigating a possible serial killer and that multiple bodies had been discovered.
Both the Seattle Police Department and King County Sheriff’s Office said publicly the reports are wrong.
We rate this claim False.
Instagram post (archived), Oct. 15, 2022
Email interview with Det. Patrick Michaud, Seattle Police Department Public Affairs, Oct. 17, 2022
King County Sheriff’s Office statement on Twitter, Oct. 16, 2022
Seattle Police Department statement on Twitter, Oct. 15, 2022
Fox 13, "Authorities deny rumors of serial killer in Seattle area," Oct. 16, 2022
Associated Press, "No suspected serial killer in Seattle, despite online rumor," Oct. 17, 2022
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