Viral post about 'kidnapping attempt' on 4th of July is unsubstantiated
A viral post about an alleged attempted kidnapping earlier this month in Rochester appears to be nothing more than a rumor.
The post, which has been shared nearly 10,000 times, claims to be written by a mother of a 4-year-old girl (though the story was shared by a different individual). According to the post, a group of "Arab men" tried unsuccessfully to abduct the child during the 4th of July fireworks show at Silver Lake Park.
Here's part of that post:
I called the police to report what happened because i have been a MESS since that night and i cannot get myself together mentally. The police and i went over the entire story and they confirmed it was 100% a kidnapping attempt, these men sell little girls into sex trafficking. I cannot explain how hard this is to even type for me but i hope it helps others. This IS REAL. This happened where i have been watching fire works for 24 years in "small rochester.
Rochester Police Captain John Sherwin confirmed Monday morning that he is aware of the post. But if such an incident took place, he said, "it has not been reported to the Rochester Police Department."
In researching this rumor, it appears very similar to several other rumors that have circulated widely on the internet throughout the country usually involving suspects lurking at large events or big box type retail stores waiting to kidnap children into sex trafficking. A general internet search reveals that the majority of these viral posts have been debunked. While these types of posts are quickly shared on social media, we encourage citizens to use verified news sources for public safety information.
Below is a statement regarding this story from Med City Beat editor Sean Baker:
(Cover graphic: The Med City Beat)