An eerie, 7-year-old viral video of a gagged girl has been ruled a hoax with “no connection” to the 2009 disappearance of a teenage Wisconsin girl.
Police in Antigo, Wisconsin, made this announcement after an investigation into the YouTube video and its possible link to the missing person case of 15-year-old Kayla Berg. Police say they only recently became aware of the footage.
“The Antigo Police with the help of another law enforcement agency has been able to identify that this video is 100% fake and was a video that was produced to be placed on YouTube.com,” the police department said in a Wednesday statement. “The Antigo Police Department has identified the video producer/camera man, actor and actress in the video.”
The statement ends in all-caps: “THIS VIDEO HAS NO CONNECTION TO THE DISAPPEARANCE OF KAYLA BERG.”
Kayla’s mother has reportedly said the girl in the video, which was posted two months to the day after Kayla disappeared, looked and sounded somewhat like her daughter, though she wasn’t sure.
Police are not saying who produced or appeared in the video but did say the clip was made somewhere along the East Coast.
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The video (titled “Hi Walter! I got a new gf today!”) was posted on Oct. 11, 2009, but attracted relatively little attention until this summer. It had more than 940,000 views before it was removed from YouTube for violating the site’s community guidelines.
It shows a man talking excitedly about his new girlfriend, who he met at the mall, and their time together.
The footage cuts away to the man standing in front of what appears to be a basement room — the twist being that a young woman, his “new girlfriend,” is captive and crying inside. PEOPLE has decided not to post the footage.
Kayla reportedly vanished after going to her boyfriend’s house in Wausau, Wisconsin.
Anyone with information regarding Kayla’s disappearance is asked to call the Antigo Police Department at 715-627-6411.
A police spokesman tells PEOPLE detectives are hopeful that renewed public interest in Kayla’s case will give rise to new information that will lead them to the truth about her disappearance.