Police investigate false Twitter post about man with machete on bike path

14-year-old girl's tweet initially taken seriously in light of last year's murder of David Grubbs

Posted: 2:00 AM September 19, 2012

A 14-year-old girl’s tweet Monday about a man carrying a machete on the Ashland Central Bike Path was misleading and false, Police Chief Terry Holderness said.

The message posted via Twitter prompted several phone calls to police, who combed the area near Hunter Park where the man was reportedly spotted, but were unable to locate anyone, he said.

After police found the girl, she told officers that the man might have had a small knife in his belt or in a sheath on his belt, Holderness said.

She couldn’t give a description of the man, he said.

Police took initial calls seriously, Holderness said, because 24-year-old David Grubbs was killed on the bike path along Hunter Park with what police believe was a machete or sword nearly a year ago, on Nov. 19.

“That’s the power of a tweet,” Holderness said. “Turned out it was nothing.” He said the girl didn’t mean to mislead investigators.

A reward of more than $22,000 is offered for anyone who helps solve the murder.

Anyone with information about the murder is asked to call the non-emergency Ashland Police Department phone number at 541-482-5211 or the department’s anonymous tip line at 541-552-2333. People can also give information to Crime Stoppers of Southern Oregon by calling 800-850-0580.

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