The Omegle Murder Confession: Don’t Trust Everything You Read

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Omegle is an anonymous chat site commonly used by teens. With a tagline like “Talk to Strangers,” it’s no wonder the site has quickly become known for its rampant sexual, creepy, and flat-out weird interactions. However, one anonymous user began a chat last week with a frightening message revealing the latitude and longitude of Julissa Romero’s body, a 12-year-old girl the user claimed had missing for about five months. The message was met with a swarm of feelings by the online community, where a screenshot of the chat was first posted.

Thanks Reddit

I later found out that it was all a hoax, but I have to admit, upon first learning about the message, I didn’t know how to react. Should I be outraged? Should I be saddened by the supposed death of this young girl? Should I be relieved that her family and friends might finally be able to have some closure and begin the healing process? Or, like the majority of the users on the thread, should I merely scoff and shrug it off as simply another faceless internet user yearning for some spotlight? Well as I soon discovered, this is the internet, and in the words of quite literally everyone with half a brain and an IP address, you just can’t trust it.

The problem is that there are more and more incidences of people saying stupid stuff online that gets them in trouble and requires police resources to solve. Remember the 14-year-old Dutch teen who was arrested this April for tweeting terroristic threats at American Airlines? This bored, little girl had no idea her information would then be sent to the FBI via American Airlines for a thorough investigation.

I was dumbfounded by the entire thing. She created a mysterious posting as a member of Al Qaida, and thought we’d all have a nice laugh while she got retweeted approximately a bajillion times? Did she really not think anyone would care?!

Thanks Mashable

Keeping that type of general stupidity in mind, I read through the Reddit thread hoping there would emerge some sort of answer to whether this heinous Omegle message was in fact real or fake. But as I continued scrolling, it seemed to become more and more apparent that the skepticism the internet has brought to the online population is winning out in most people’s minds. Posts quickly drifted toward sarcasm with references to bad 90’s horror movies, in which the cast is always full of dumb high school or college students and even touched on the necessity of the “token black guy.” And for a while there before I knew it was all a hoax, I actually forgot about the little girl in the story, who had supposedly been missing for almost half a year.

Thankfully, Henry Gomez, commander of the Salinas Police Department, confirmed later that afternoon that the Omegle chat clue was all a giant hoax. In fact, it couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only was there no dead body at the coordinates listed in the chat message, just as the amateur google-map investigators of Reddit figured, but the “missing girl” wasn’t really missing. Although at one point earlier this year she was listed as missing, authorities investigating the case have assured the public that Romero is now “alive and accounted for.

While everyone can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing young Remero is still alive, the sensationalism created by this Omegle prankster and the desperate Dutch teen should not be overlooked. Although both scenarios ended up being hoaxes, they didn’t just disturb online communities, such as Reddit and Twitter. While the Omegle incident only involved one police department, the American Airlines threat took the attention of the FBI. Does no one else see the problem with this? Besides the fact that kids as young as fourteen are turning to false terrorist threats to amuse themselves, their “pranks” are taking the resources of crime-fighting organizations away from actual crimes. If you ask me, it’s time we encourage our young people to find some new hobbies.

Erika Bethmann (@EBethmann) is a New Jersey native and a Washingtonian in the making. She is passionate about travel and international policy, and is expanding her knowledge of the world at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. Contact Erika at

Featured image courtesy of [Mike via Flickr]

Erika Bethmann is a New Jersey native and a Washingtonian in the making. She is passionate about travel and international policy, and is expanding her knowledge of the world at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. Contact Erika at



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