CHICAGO — Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson on Wednesday said people on social media are spreading misinformation about a series of missing-person cases on the West Side.
Since March, at least six women and teenage girls were reported missing. Two were later found dead, police said, and the other four had been reported safe as of Wednesday afternoon.
"Right now," Johnson said, "there is no credible information that we have a serial kidnapper going around in the black community, pillaging. That's just not true."
CASE UPDATE: All recent missing people profiled in the media have been accounted for. Detectives are still investigating 2 deaths (causes / manner pending ME). These cases may be related and #ChicagoPolice have identified a person of interest to question in reference. pic.twitter.com/bK6kAOZdQn
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) June 13, 2018
At an unrelated news conference Wednesday, Johnson said "it's a little frustrating" for police to contend with social media theories while trying to investigate. Concerned citizens have inaccurately linked the West Side cases, Johnson said, sharing theories about serial kidnappers or killers.
As of now, only the two fatal cases are connected, according to Johnson and Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
"Let me clarify something," Johnson said. "We know that there's only two of these individuals that are related."
Johnson noted that both missing people were last seen with the same person. He said all three were involved "in narcotics sales, prostitution and using narcotics together."
Johnson said police are trying to question that person, who is "not wanted for homicide."
He noted that none of the cases has been ruled a homicide as of Wednesday as police await autopsy results from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
Johnson said social media "flames misinformation in the community" and that Chicago police officers are taking each of the missing-person cases seriously.
Shantieya Smith, 26, was found dead and decomposing in a West Side garage after going missing May 25. Her relatives are still seeking answers and said Smith never would've willingly left her 7-year-old daughter. Sadaria Davis, 15, was found dead in an abandoned building in early May after being reported missing April 27.
On Wednesday, police said four teenage girls who had previously been reported missing were now located and safe. Those girls are aged 15, 16, 16 and 18.
WGN News does not identify missing people once they have been found due to privacy concerns.