Escaped lion hoax puts school on alert

Authorities discover Facebook posting as source

By Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

ATASCOCITA, Texas - Humble ISD school officials believe a picture posted on Facebook is what started a rumor about a loose lion in one Northeast Harris County neighborhood.

Students at The Timbers Elementary School who walk or ride their bikes home were kept at school as a precaution. Dismissal at Atascocita Middle School was delayed by ten minutes while the police investigated.

In an email sent to parents, the district wrote, "We felt it important to keep students supervised until more was known."

"Everyone had to stand in line and pick their kids up individually," said Josh Krause said. His daughter is in the firth grade at Timbers. "We had a lot of police officers in the area but nothing was seen."

The district determined it was a hoax, but the picture posted on Facebook quickly spread from one person to another and the rumor grew. The alleged lion was even discussed on an Atascocita message board.

One person wrote, "It is true. I got a text with pic from a friend. She looked in her backyard and the lion was back there."

Coincidentally, there was a mountain lion on the loose in a California neighborhood on Thursday and the picture of that big cat is the same one circulating in Northeast Harris County. 

Most people in the neighborhood got a good laugh out of the situation, but one parent said it could happen.

"I don't think it's as far fetched as people think it is," said Brian Seay. "I've seen stranger things happen."

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