RAINIER, Wash., Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Authorities in Washington state said they are investigating the origins of a false hostage situation report received online.
The Thurston County Sheriff's Office said detectives have filed search warrants to identify the Internet user who falsely claimed a man and his son were being held hostage June 26 at a home in Rainier, The Olympian, Olympia, Wash., reported Tuesday.
Deputies said a "swatter," a term for people who attempt to trick emergency responders into responding to homes on false reports, sent messages to the sheriff's office June 26 claiming a man and his son were being held hostage.
Investigators said a 13-year-old boy who lives at the address of the false report had been playing a video game online with Xbox Live a month or two before the incident when an opponent threatened to "swat" him.
False reporting is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.