Rumors of serial killers on the loose are nothing new to the LAPD. But they seem to have taken on a new life thanks to the rapid-fire chatter of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
In Wilmington this month the stabbing death of 28-year-old mother Cristian Alvarez, whose body was apparently dumped near Alamedia and Anaheim streets, set off a flurry of Facebook rumors about a South Bay Slasher, rumors quickly debunked by detectives.
But sometimes the streets are on to something:
The discovery of the body of 22-year-old Bree'Anna Guzman next to the Glendale Freeway in Silver Lake last week set off a new round of rumors in the city's Northeast and Eastside areas.
She had been missing from her Lincoln Heights home for about a month and was found half-clothed.
In April the body of 17-year-old Michelle Lozano of Boyle Heights was found next to the 5 freeway in that community — in a container that appeared to have been dumped from a moving vehicle.
Reports of another young woman missing from the Eastside were debunked in news reports this week after she turned up safe. One near-abduction of a female was reported.
The speculation of a possible killer on the loose, however, is not being entirely dismissed by the LAPD.
The department's Northeast Division today stated this, in part, via Facebook:
Rest assured that the LAPD has its top-notch Robbery-Homicide Detectives working the case and they are exploring all possibilities. While it's important that we don't jump to conclusions, it's also good for us to be alert in general.
The Division also said …
… At this point it's simply much too early to see patterns suggesting that type of behavior.
Not really. Keep your head up.
[Added at 3:20 p.m.]: A commenter, below, noted that there's a community walk at 5 p.m. Wednesday “for the sake of Bree and Michelle.” Organizers took to Facebook, noting that “… a blanket of fear has covered our Lincoln Heights … “
The starting point is 3500 North Broadway. Info.
[Added at 12:48 p.m. Wednesday]: In a subsequent statement, the department said “At this time, Robbery-Homicide Division does not believe the two cases are related.”
But, “detectives continue to meet and compare details relative to their respective cases,” according to a department statement.
It also says rumors of men in a white van kidnapping women are just that — rumors.
But cops want you to call if you come across any unknown info about the homicides: 213-486-6890.