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Social media chatter sparks unnecessary concern, EBR sheriff says Wednesday

1 year 11 months 1 week ago Thursday, April 15 2021 Apr 15, 2021 April 15, 2021 1:38 PM April 15, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – Dispatchers answering criminal complaints and emergency forums for the unincorporated areas of East Baton Rouge were overwhelmed with reports of erroneous crimes that agents made a rare move Wednesday to ask people to follow official news outlets and community forums instead of social media chatter.

A week of concern about a missing LSU student whose vehicle was abandoned and later wrecked at the top of the Mississippi River Bridge fueled concerns about unreported cases of missing people.  LSU and Baton Rouge Police are handling the case and have said foul play is not suspected in the student’s disappearance.

Both LSU and Baton Rouge Police were involved in the discovery of a body further down the river Tuesday.  A body was discovered near LaPlace and an autopsy is scheduled to confirm the identity of the body – possibly as early as Wednesday evening or sometime Thursday.

An Uber driver was arrested in an unrelated attack at a woman’s off-campus apartment near LSU recently.  Sheriff’s deputies arrested the driver after the woman said he violently broke into her apartment after bringing her home.

None of the cases are connected but social media posts have fueled so much mistaken speculation, the sheriff’s office was filled with people reporting – or asking about – fallacious stories posted online.

“The Sheriff’s Office is not working any other such cases at this time. I want to reassure the public that our agency would immediately share information were there any cause for concern. I want to encourage the public to look to official sources of information to stay up to date concerning safety issues,“ EBR Sheriff Sid Gautreax said Wednesday.  “The concern reported to my office, while unnecessary, proves once again how tightly-knit and caring our community is.  Although, at this time, it’s unfounded,” he added. 

“Use trusted outlets for information,” the sheriff said.

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