VERIFY: KPD says warning about kidnappings is a hoax

The posts claim a cartel is kidnapping women in Knoxville and that the police are "keeping it quiet" to protect the investigation. KPD says that is not true.

Knoxville Police say a warning circulating on social media and by email about women being abducted in the area is a hoax.

"There's a lot of things that are posted on, especially on some Facebook pages, that are flat-out lies," Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk said.

We've found several variations of the post, but it's basically a warning that between 5 and 10 young women in Knoxville have “disappeared” within the past week or so, allegedly by a cartel. The post claims that law enforcement wants to keep it quiet so the cartel won't know it's being investigated.

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But that's how you can know it's fake.

"I can assure you that if we had anything remotely close to this, that women were being kidnaped, women were being abducted, that we would broadcast this very quickly," DeBusk said. "We would put this out in the media. We would put this out on our social media."

Some variations of the email claim all the women have brown hair and are "boxed" in by suspects in unmarked black cars.

Some of the posts ask women to spread the information to their friends on social media.

DeBusk said the way the post says the abduction happens is not even realistic--apparently, four, unmarked, black cars surround a young woman driving down the road and force her to pull over.

"It just does not work that way," DeBusk said.

KPD posted the following warning about the hoax on their Facebook page Monday:

"This is an internet and email HOAX. The Knoxville Police Department is NOT investigating the disappearance of women to a cartel. A lot of what you read on some Facebook pages is false or greatly exaggerated and misleading at best. The claims made concerning the women are simply not true."

DeBusk said people need to always check their sources, and be leery of anything that doesn't come from an official source.

"Call the non-emergency line, ask about it, go to our Facebook page, go to our Twitter page, go to a legitimate news source, look at it, see if it's there, see if it's being reported, ask questions before you go spreading these rumors around," DeBusk said.

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While this information is not true, KPD is taking the opportunity to provide some safety tips to everyone:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings
  • Park in a well-lit area
  • |I possible, travel in pairs.
  • If you do see something or someone who looks or is acting suspicious, report it. Let our officers check it out.


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