An online posting that intimated someone had dumped a body in Chicago's Jackson Park ignited a torrent of concern among social media users over the weekend and even prompted police to scour the area.
The posting occurred on a website called PostSecret.com, which solicits submissions of anonymous homemade postcards with confessional messages through the mail. Each week, the website uploads a select number of such postcards.
The postcard in question included an aerial map of what social media users say is of Jackson Park along with the words, "I said she dumped me, but really, I dumped her (body)" and an arrow pointing to a specific spot on the map.
That image was uploaded Saturday night and prompted a flurry of reaction online and a police search.
Chicago Officer Daniel O'Brien, a police spokesman, said the Grand Crossing police station received an anonymous phone call Sunday about the posting. "They said they had found this cryptic message on a website," he said.
The police search at Jackson Park turned up nothing, O'Brien said, but the information was passed on to Chicago detectives.
Amanda Conrad, 22, of Raleigh, N.C., was on Twitter late Saturday when she saw a tweet from PostSecret that its newly posted submissions, called Sunday Secrets, were online.
The first entry was the post about the body, she said, and she decided to put the postcard on a popular forum on the news-oriented social media site Reddit.
Within 30 minutes, online commenters said they had determined the location shown on the postcard: Chicago's Jackson Park.
"I mean, it's clear from the picture and on the map that that's the location," Conrad said in a phone interview. "I would be surprised to find out if it really wasn't."
Eric Larson, 39, from a suburb outside Minneapolis, was sitting with his wife, browsing Twitter on his iPad when he came across the tweet from PostSecret. Larson said in a phone interview that he was able to make out part of the ZIP code on the postcard, which started with 606 — Chicago.
Some online commenters wondered whether PostSecret reported the card to police and why it would post the card, which was at the top of the website's home page as the "top secret."
PostSecret's founder, Frank Warren, could not be reached for comment Sunday, but the PostSecret Twitter feed Saturday night read: "I have tried to share all the information I have on the top secret this week. Can we ask reddit to help identify the location?"
The Reddit feed Conrad started was largely deleted by site moderators Sunday, based on worries that the feed might wrongly implicate someone in a crime, Conrad said. In April, Reddit users incorrectly pointed to someone as a Boston Marathon bomber.
Larson and Conrad said they're glad they were able to play a small part in figuring out what might have happened, and encouraging police to check it out.
"Either a really bad person killed somebody or a less bad but also bad person is making a joke and wasting time claiming that they killed somebody," Larson said. "Either way, it's bad. But given the choice … I hope it's a hoax."