There's a phantom serial killer on the loose in the L.A. Harbor area. He's so stealthy, in fact, that he doesn't actually exist.
It is true that the body of 28-year-old mother Cristian Alvarez was found Jan. 2 in Wilmington. Then the Facebook page Life in Wilmington stoked rumors that at least three other victims had been found with similar wounds.
The online group has been a lightening rod for breathless reports of a South Bay Slasher:
One woman wrote:
I heard they found another body this morning on the harbor college trail, did you hear about this!!!
It sounds like the police have a black out on it because they think it is a serial killer
One of the posters was more specific, saying another woman's body was found recently near Alamedia and Anaheim streets.
Yeah, we'd be scared, too. Except that none of it is true.
There is no throat-slasher on the loose in San Pedro and Wilmington, according to the Daily Breeze.
LAPD Capt. William Hayes, commander of the Los Angeles Police Department's Harbor Division, tells the paper it's all conjecture related to the death of Alvarez, who was possibly sexually assaulted before being killed and left with her pants down next on railway property near L Street and Hyatt Avenue, according to the Breeze.
The paper says that the Facebook users might have confused Alvarez's homicide with the serial-killer deaths of three homeless men in Orange County in recent weeks.
Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon added:
We are all concerned, obviously, and homicides this past year in Wilmington jumped up on us. But they are not attributed to a serial killer.
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Life in Wilmington responded last night, in part, with this:
... "LIW" posted a False report and today in the Daily Breeze we got our hands slapped:( or as we say put on blast! LIW will posts information as it comes to US. We would rather have Everyone be careful and enjoy everyday without fear about our city than to live in Fear. Sorry for the confusion and Buenas Noches ...
Case solved. Sort of. Alvarez's killer is still on-the-loose.