Gruesome photos put online as police hunt possible killer
HORRIFYING images purportedly showing the murder of a mother have surfaced on internet forums including 4chan and Reddit as an American police department confirms a woman is dead.
Judging by the timestamps on the images, the user -- who claims to have committed the murder in Port Orchard in Washington -- uploaded the photos at 2pm local time, or 8am Wednesday AEST.
Along with the set of gruesome images that appear to show a woman's remains, the user instructed readers to "check the news in a few hours".
"Her son will be home from school soon, and will find her and call the cops."
Whoever uploaded the images also warns they have a "BB gun" that looks realistic enough to trick police into firing.
An screenshot of the 4chan discussion, showing the apparent victim, appeared on news aggregating site Reddit about four hours later.
Within eight hours, the post titled "Anon murders someone" had 1328 comments and almost 2000 "upvotes", which indicate support.
The discussion was divisive with many calling the posting of the images "disgusting" and demanding they be removed.
Four hours after it appeared on Reddit and eight hours after first being posted online, news outlets in Port Orchard confirmed that a woman in her 30s was found dead.
A short time later, both Reddit and 4chan are believed to have removed the photos but others continue to republish them.
The person who posted the original suite of despicable images is now understood to have published photos of themselves, although the photos cannot be verified.
A spokesman for Kitsap County Sherriff's Office told KING 5 News it was now investigating a homicide in Port Orchard after a woman's body was found.
"We believe this person was targeted by a yet-to-be determined other person."
Police have also said they are investigating the "graphic photos" posted anonymously online.
Detectives have told KIRO 7 -- another local news outlet-- they were still investigating whether these images are linked to this murder.
The admission that this possible killer intends to encourage police to shoot is being taken seriously.
Extra officers have now been stations around the crime scene in response.