Grove Police Chief Mark Morris said an alleged incident of human trafficking reported on Friday, July 13 at the Grove Walmart store did not take place.
On Thursday, July 26, Morris issued a statement saying the incident - which was widely shared on social media - was inaccurate.
"Based on all the information received through the investigation, we determined the information released on the Facebook post and the information given in the police report was not accurate," Morris said.
Morris said his officers worked with members of the Walmart security staff, who provided video of the women making the report, from the time she entered the store until she returned to her vehicle in the facility's parking lot.
"The woman viewed the video from the store and agreed, based on the [footage], no one was following her though the store," Morris said.
Morris said he does not believe the woman "had intent to make a false report at the time she posted" about the incident on social media.
"Something made her uneasy while she was in the store," Morris said. "We are aware she was involved in an incident in Tulsa in the past, [which] has made her guarded while she is in public places."
Regardless, Morris said his officers take reports of this nature "very seriously."
"A lot of time and effort was put into this investigation," Morris said. "Detective James Highley was the lead investigator, and he did an outstanding job working this case.
"The management and security staff from Walmart were very helpful and cooperated with this investigation."
Morris asks members of the public to remain diligent in all situations.
He cautioned that rumors circulating in the area about "Walmart being a gathering place for sex traffickers" has not been substantiated.
"We always encourage people to call the police department when they suspect criminal behavior," Morris said. "Grove is a safe place to live, but unfortunately there are bad people everywhere.
"People should be aware of their surroundings. If they became uneasy, concerned, or feel unsafe they should get to a safe place around other people, inform management staff if at a store, and cal you’re inside a store, and call the police."
Morris said in all cases, he encourages people to remain diligent, and to check the validity of information before sharing posts on social media.
About the incident
On Friday, July 13, Morris said officers became aware of an incident at the Grove Walmart through a Facebook post. In the post, the woman making it indicated she was followed by two men while at the store.
Morris said Officer Scott Graham, who was on duty on Friday, made contact with the woman and asked her if she had contacted the police department about the incident.
"After the officer contacted the woman making the post, she called [to report the incident to] the police department around an hour and a half after the incident occurred," Morris said. "The woman was unable to come to the police department that night to make a report because of a sick child. The police followed up with the woman and a report was made on the incident."