If a Baby Cries ... Don't Open the Door!
Netlore Archive: Email rumor claims a serial killer may be using recordings of a crying baby to coax unsuspecting women into inviting him into their homes
Description: Email rumor
Circulating since: Jan. 2003
Email text contributed by T. Saia, Jan. 17, 2003:
I don't know how true this is... but with BR's serial killer on the loose.. no chances should be taken...
This message came to me directly from a friend of mine that lives in Abbeville. Normally I try not to alarm people with things such as this because you never know how true it is. But because it came from such a close and trusted friend I wanted to pass it on.
Subject: Crying Baby
Joan just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last and she called the police b/c it was late and she thought it was wierd. The police told her "whatever you do, do NOT open the door." The lady then said that the baby had crawled near a window and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The police said, "we already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." he told her that they think the serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside of their doors when they're home alone at night.
Please pass this on! and do not open the door for a crying baby.
Analysis: This much-forwarded message originated in or around Baton Rouge, LA, where a serial killer hunted by authorities for the murders of at least four women since September 2001 eluded capture for nearly two years (see news links below).
Rumors fly when a community is gripped by fear, and officers I spoke with at both the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office and the Multi-Agency Homicide Task Force in charge of capturing the murderer were eager to confirm that the allegations in this email are just that: rumors.
"We've gotten the email a dozen times over ourselves," said Task Force detective Sonny Stutes. "This information is not coming from us. We have no indication that it's true."
Still, authorities recommended that women who live in the area take extra precautions to stay out of harm's way, including keeping doors locked and avoiding going out alone, until the killer was apprehended.
Another rumor circulating at roughly the same time alleged that a man posing as a good samaritan (possibly the serial killer) had attempted to gain entry to a Louisiana woman's vehicle by appearing at her window holding a $5 bill which he claimed she had dropped.
Update: Newer variants of this rumor (late February 2003) claim the crying baby trick is being used by serial killers in other U.S. cities, including Houston and Little Rock.
Update: Suspect Arrested in Baton Rouge Serial Killings - Suspected serial killer Derrick Todd Lee was arrested without incident in Atlanta, May 28, 2003.
Update: In October 2003, new variants appeared in southeastern Australia alleging that a serial killer using recordings of a baby's cries to lure victims had murdered two women in Sydney and moved on to Melbourne.
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Sources and further reading:
Baton Rouge Serial Killer - Rumor Control
Rumors debunked by Multi-Agency Task Force
Could the Sound of a Crying Baby Actually Kill You?
KARK-TV, Little Rock - 14 February 2003
Suspect Arrested in Baton Rouge Serial Killings
The Advocate, 28 May, 2003
Last updated: 06/01/03