Plea for help found in walnut shell likely a hoax, police say

Abbotsford woman found note glued inside nut purchased in Langley

Police have determined that a desperate plea for help found inside a walnut shell was most likely a hoax.

On Jan. 27, an Abbotsford woman found a note glued inside a walnut shell from a bulk bag she had recently purchased, according to Sgt. Judy Bird of the Abbotsford Police. The note was apparently written by a woman who identified herself by first name and said she was being held against her will at a farm.

The woman who found the note called police, who investigated the incident, Bird said. Although there was reason to believe it was a prank, police had no choice but to act as if someone was genuinely in danger, Bird said.

The woman couldn’t remember where she bought the nuts so, Bird said, officers had to check CCTV footage from three different stores to determine she had made the purchase in Fort Langley. From there, they found the store’s walnut supplier in Vancouver, which buys its walnuts from a bigger supplier in California. Working with an RCMP liaison in Los Angeles, they found out the American supplier is served by more than 3,000 walnut farms, Bird said – making it impossible to find the exact origin of the walnut in question.

There are no registered missing persons in B.C. or California with the first name found on the note, Bird said. She said there are recorded cases of a walnut-note hoax dating back decades. Bird said it would be unlikely for someone to go to the trouble of writing a note, putting it in a walnut shell, gluing it shut and then hiding it amongst other nuts without bothering to name the farm, give a location or even include their last name.

Bird said that although police spent considerable time and resources looking into what has probably a false alarm, the APD still encourage people to report any suspicious incidents.


@KelvinGawley
kelvin.gawley@abbynews.com

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