Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tipster tricks media, as much as rural Texas law enforcement

I was galvanized when a New York Times news alert landed in my inbox about 3:45 this afternoon. It was headlined "Up to 30 Dismembered Bodies Found near Houston, Reuters Reports." The New York Times is always so circumspect about breaking news that I figured there was something to the report or this would not have appeared on its website, let alone in an email announcement. I was especially intrigued by the blurb's mention that the bodies had been found in a rural area, so I searched around the web for more information, and I found reports in UK newspapers and in a few Houston-area sources--but really little detail beyond reports that all bodies were children and that police had requested a search warrant of the house near the reported mass grave. Thinking about it now, I should have realized that something was wrong when the stories reported that police were seeking a search warrant for a nearby farm house based on the presence of blood. After all, if a mass grave containing 30 bodies were on the premises, would police have to wait to get a search warrant for the house?

In any event, within an hour of the initial report, the New York Times released an email stating, "Sheriff's Office Has Not Found Bodies at Site of Reported Graves, Houston Chronicle Says." The story reports:
Deputies who swarmed a rural Texas neighborhood Tuesday to search a farmhouse where a person claiming to be a psychic told officials multiple bodies were buried found no evidence of even a single homicide, a sheriff's official says.

Liberty County Sheriff's Capt. Rex Evans said there was no indication of bodies being anywhere on the property about 70 miles northeast of Houston. Officials ended their search Tuesday night and went home, with the focus of the investigation now turning to the tipster who led local law enforcement and FBI agents to the home.

The mass grave was said to have been between Daisetta, population 998, and Hardin, population 696. Both are in Liberty County, population 74,941, which is part of the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown Metropolitan Area.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People are "laughing" at the mistakes that were made by law enforcement but what of the people who own the house? What of their lives? As of now, the "tipster" wants nothing more than her "quiet little life" back after she made the others' lives a circus. Should not her name be made public as the people she named were made available to public scrutiny? Fair is fair.