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Fake News: NO Man Arrested After Going On Murder Spree and Killing Over 30 Registered Sex Offenders

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 10 May 2019 14:59:40 Z)

Was a 42-year old man man named Joel Miller in Omaha, Nebraska arrested after killing thirty pedophiles (or "just" registered sex offenders)? No, that's not true: the story originated from a site that has a disclaimer which says it only publishes fiction and the photo used to illustrate the story actually was taken in Glendale, California years earlier.

The story originated from an article (archived here) published by Empire News on October 25, 2016 under the title "Man Arrested After Going On Murder Spree, Killing Over 30 Registered Sex Offenders". It opened:

OMAHA, Nebraska -

A Nebraska man was arrested after he was caught in the act of strangling someone to death in an alley outside of a Omaha McDonald's, police say. According to reports, Joel Miller, 42, was arrested for assault and attempted murder, and during questioning admitted that he had killed more than 30 people already, all of them registered sex offenders.

"I've been killing pedos and perverts for, damn, close to 15 years now," said Miller. "Started when I was 26 or so, after a girl I was dating was raped and murdered. I tracked the guy down myself, slit his throat. I realized I had a real knack for it after that, so I kept going."

Screenshot of https://empirenews.net/man-arrested-after-going-on-murder-spree-killing-over-30-registered-sex-offenders/

The website Empire News carries a disclaimer which reads:

Empire News is intended for entertainment purposes only. Our website and social media content uses only fictional names, except in cases of public figure and celebrity parody or satirization. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

The picture of the man used to illustrate the story was uploaded to Flickr in 2008 by Chris Yarzab:

Under Arrest

Explore Chris Yarzab's photos on Flickr. Chris Yarzab has uploaded 11802 photos to Flickr.

Tags under the photo identify the location as Glendale, California although nothing is known about the man being depicted.

Later versions of the story pushed by other sites used a slightly different headline but the same picture and story:

Even in 2019 screenshots of the fake story are still being shared online as if they are real news:

spreekillerfake.jpg

The screenshot appears to come from a version of the story published by YourNewsWire, a site famous for making up things. It was rebranded as NewsPunch a while ago and many of their more questionable stories were taken offline at the time, including this one:

Local Hero Arrested After Killing 30 Pedophiles In Murder Spree

A 42-year-old man from Nebraska has been arrested by police after they discovered that he murdered 30 pedophiles over the last few years. Joel Miller, dubbed a "hero" by locals, was caught attempting to kill a notorious child rapist by police who were responding to what they thought was an attempted robbery at an Omaha McDonald's restaurant.

About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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