False information spread quickly in Liberty Co. search

June 8, 2011 2:49:34 PM PDT
It started off as a tip from a woman who said she was a psychic and quickly grew to get worldwide attention. But it turns out there were no bodies buried at a home in Liberty County. Deputies in Liberty County say the way this case exploded has left them frustrated. Some of them are blaming it all on the Internet.

It was a so-called psychic tip that exploded into a media frenzy in Liberty County on Tuesday.

Captain Rex Evans with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office said, "This whole incident was blown way out of proportion from what was actually going on at the scene."

Frustrated deputies say they believe numerous people leaking information about alleged bodies at the house on County Road 2049 allowed the investigation to spin out of control.

"The social media -- rampant deployment of information was just beyond our control," Captain Evans explained.

Sheriff's deputies, Texas Rangers and the FBI showed up. Twice on Tuesday investigators told reporters at the scene there were no bodies found on the property. Still, several local and national media outlets moved forward reporting inaccurate accounts about what was unfolding.

We asked former FBI agent and security expert Jim Conway to weigh in.

He said, "We live in a new world today with social media and things going viral very quickly. I'm not surprised by it."

Conway says despite the fast moving and false information across the world wide web, officers were obligated to investigate those allegations that ended up ballooning out of proportion.

"Just like your doctor does an assessment based on the conditions that you have, law enforcement has to sift through and filter leads and tips every day, thousands of them, and determine what's real, what needs to be pursued and what needs to be put on the back burner," Conway said.

With the false body allegations on the back burner, detectives say they are now focusing the investigation on the original psychic tipster. They say they don't believe that so-called psychic was calling from a local number.

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