Last week, a friend called me and told she'd heard there were at least two young, black males murdered in the last couple of weeks. She'd heard the story from her high school aged sister. After a round of phone calls, I learned that the story (for the most part) is not true.
April 25th, the body of a young man was found hanging from an old railroad trestle near the Cahokia/Dupo border. Initially, it was reported that the young man was 19. Later, we all learned he was 15 and that the coroner was ruling the death a suicide.
This may have caused confusion early on and may have lead to rumors of multiple hangings.
One of the rumors I heard indicated that an O'Fallon student was one of the victims. I called O'Fallon schools and the superintendent told me that she has not received any reports of a student death in the last few weeks and none involving a hanging.
Clearly, the stories have put families on edge. I talked to a father in Cahokia who now insists on walking his daughter to school everyday. He was deeply concerned there were multiple murders and that police were not making the crimes public.
The stories circulated widely. We received several calls to our newsroom - asking us to investigate. Cahokia schools sent letters home with students last Friday - expressing concern over "misinformation" about what happened.
I called the Illinois State Police and St. Clair County Sheriff's Department. Both agencies referred me to Cahokia Police - who tell me the rumors are not true.
Diana Zoga is a general assignment reporter at News4. You can follow her on Twitter:www.twitter.com/DIANAZOGA