Police Say Kidnapping Post About Missing Student Dakota James Is A Hoax

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On Thursday, an image began circulating on social media that caused many to call police.

The photo was a screenshot of a food order placed through Yelp from someone claiming to be Dakota James, saying he had been kidnapped on the North Side and was being held in the basement of a home in Shaler.

Shaler Township and Pittsburgh police both say that online post about the missing Duquesne University grad student is false.

Police went to the Shaler home and said there was no truth to the story.

Lt. Sean Frank, of the Shaler Police Department, said, “The Shaler resident [who lived at that address] was not involved in the incident in any way.”

Pittsburgh Police released a statement indicating that they also thoroughly investigated the post and that James “was not at the location, and there is no reason to believe he ever was.”

Shaler Police say they are looking into who created “this hoax.”

James, 23, was last seen on Jan. 25 in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. He was believed to be walking to his home on the North Side.

A friend of the James family, Cathey Rhodes, said, “We are disheartened by someone’s choice to use Dakota’s name, and we hope this situation, and those responsible are brought to justice accordingly.”

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