Verify: False information circulating in Steve Stephens manhunt

April 17, 2017: There is misinformation circulating in the case of Steve Stephens. Here are the facts.

CLEVELAND -- Your Facebook news feed has likely been flooded with posts on the manhunt for Steve Stephens.

He's the wanted man accused of killing a stranger on Easter and uploading video of the murder on Facebook.

Some posts you may have encountered declare Stephens was on his way to Akron. Others say he was spotted in Painesville, among other places throughout the region.

We’ve talked to police, and have confirmed these details are false.

To urge the importance of only following accurate updates, Cleveland police issued a warning on Twitter late Sunday stating “misinformation in emergencies is dangerous.”

WKYC spent the morning streaming facts of the case on Facebook, which resulted in a slew of comments with misleading information.

VERIFY: Where is Stephens?

One rumor on our Facebook page is that his cell phone pinged in Erie, Pa. Police in the city of Erie -- and the state police -- tell us these reports are also not true.

His current whereabouts are unknown. While he could still be in Ohio, authorities have put neighboring states on alert to keep watch for Stephens.

VERIFY: The number of victims

There are also questions swirling about the number of victims involved. Although Stephens claimed to have killed more people, Cleveland police say there is only one victim confirmed. That man has been identified as 74-year-old Robert Godwin, Sr.

As of Monday morning, there are no additional victims.

VERIFY: The Facebook video

Although authorities initially said Stephens streamed video of the murder live on Facebook, that is not true. A spokesperson with Facebook confirms to WKYC that while Stephens had posted a Facebook live video at some point Sunday, the murder itself was not live.

VERIFY: Confirmed details

Stephens is wanted for aggravated murder in the shooting death of Godwin, which happened at 695 East 93rd Street.

He was last seen driving a white 2016 Ford Fusion with temporary tag E363630.

Stephens, 37, is described as 6'1" tall and weighs 244 pounds. He's bald with a full beard.

CLICK HERE for more confirmed facts of the case.

VERIFY: Sources

Various local law enforcement: 

  • Cleveland police
  • Cleveland FBI
  • Painesville police
  • Lake County Sheriff
  • Erie police
  • Erie State Police

Facebook

VERIFY: Resources

Cleveland police Twitter

Cleveland police updates

Latest facts in the case

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© 2017 WKYC-TV


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