Hoaxes & Rumors

Circulating Again: Photo of Woman Holding Gun to Baby’s Head

Circulating Again: Photo of Woman Holding Gun to Baby’s Head

An image showing a young woman holding a gun to a baby’s head has circulated for years. Today we take a closer look.

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The source and veracity remain unknown.

Let’s take a look at the message circulating with the image, which we first spotted back in mid-2013.

I was sent this picture today by a friend who was very distressed to see it on her page. It apparently was posted to see if anybody could find the girl and if they cared well we do care and we have to find this baby as this scares the hell out of me

This Facebook post of this image had nearly 30,000 shares as of this writing.

This Facebook post of this image had over 30,000 shares within two weeks.

2013 Origin

We first reported on this photo in August 2013 after it was seen in heavy circulation on Facebook. Speculation varied wildly regarding the source of the image. One theory was that the “woman” may actually be an adolescent sibling “joking” with a toy gun for the camera after giving her sister a bath. Others have suggested that the image may have been digitally altered. Un-cropped versions of the photo show a woman in the background who appears to be standing at a sink, which some have suggested could be the child’s mother or grandmother.

The image is believed to have originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but this was never confirmed. The person who posted the photo above claimed that authorities had been contacted and were investigating.

Bottom Line

Although social media outrage flared in response to the photo above when it first appeared in 2013, it does not appear that the source was ever confirmed. Even as the photo has seen a resurgence in May 2015, we have found no additional information on the photo or the people involved.

For a mind-numbingly long discussion about this photo, you may be interested in the blog post where it all started.

Updated May 13, 2015
Originally published August 2013

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  • RBM

    This picture has been proven to be photoshopped, the entire right arm is superimposed onto the body of the woman. Notice the obvious difference in her skin tone directly around her “arm” and the “gun”. That is a tell-tale sign of superimposition. I have heard that the woman was holding a blowdryer in the original picture.

  • jjw

    Dude, Buenos Aires is not a country, it’s a city in Argentina. And wtf is that adobe type of theme? And, yeah, tiles? You dont see those anywhere else, of course. And how could a pretty picture you can find online ever make it to another country, totally impossible.

  • dan

    After extensive research & tons of pictures viewed, lots of pictures framed were sold in the gift shop at multnomah falls & local stores in Portland Oregon… this park was run by the multnomah county forest service… the printing on the picture was sure to be english & probably was the history of the falls printed on the picture… The pictures were basically an exclusive for the Portland area for souvenir purposes & may have been sold at local stores in the Portland area… My best bet would be she was in the Portland Oregon area… wow this is kind of like a lets find waldo thing…I think I have found the place of origin due to that picture on the wall… lets hope I am right…lol

    • zarf21

      Uh–I have pictures of a mountain in Washington State, places in New Jersey, and St. Mark’s Square in Venice–among others–up in my house. And I don’t live in any of those places. A picture on the wall–can’t be depended upon to pinpoint a location.

  • dan

    I saw this picture posted today on my facebook page… it scared me but I pursued a few image enhancements & saw the gun was a toy & not real. After looking I also noticed the picture on the wall, probably overlooked by everyone but me… It was a picture of Multnomah falls in Oregon just 25 miles west of Portland… if this was a picture taken in Buenos Aries, how would they have a picture of the falls hanging in the home… I googled up Multnomah falls & it was the same picture… I have hiked up those falls too many times, this is the reason I noticed the picture by recognition… not a common picture to see hanging on a wall outside of the West coast of USA…

    • waffles

      Excellent job on the Oregon falls! We’ll see if that can get use closer to the real source.

      • dan

        I was hoping that I could read the text on the picture on the wall but enhancements just were to blurry. I could have figured out if it was in Spanish or English… would make a difference in possibly figuring out the location… Buenos Aries is a mainly Spanish speaking country though the Portland Oregon area is flooded with Hispanic people…

    • james

      That is one of those religious motivational posters, I’ve seen it online before, you can buy them on the internet and ship them anywhere, the owner probably has no clue what waterfall that is, it is irrelevant.

      As for the gun, it is most definitely a cap gun, if you look closely, the cylinder and frame are one solid piece, my money is on these two being siblings, and this is just an innocent game.

      On to the technical stuff…
      The EXIF data from the original image (took me some searching to find it) says that it was taken with the webcam on an apple computer, not to sound prudish, but there aren’t too many people who take interest in apple computers outside of the US, Europe, and Asia. South America is decidedly lacking in support of apple computers. The data also relays that the image was taken at 03:41:57pm on 25 Jan. 2012 (kinda freaky, eh?)

      Going pretty deep now, try to follow…
      The speaker seen sitting on top of the bureau in the background is from a JVC MX-J900 Home Stereo system, which was only sold in the US, Asian, and European markets (JVC’s South American distribution was limited to car audio at the time [production of the MX-J900 ended in 2003]) It is not impossible for someone to mail one from the US to S. America, but highly unlikely, there were plenty of just as affordable home stereo systems available there, and shipping rates would be astronomical (google it, it’s a huge stereo).

      Even deeper…
      The bureau itself is of a Dutch design, most prominent in the Eastern US, though readily available throughout the US. That combination of Dutch styling, cast-iron style hinging, and lead set glass panes; makes it HIGHLY unlikely that it is in Argentina.

      In conclusion, weighting all of the evidence at hand, I am willing to bet that this is a little girl (12-14?) holding her little sister after mom (or grandma), who is partially in view in the background, just finished giving her a bath. The older girl, being a child, doesn’t understand the implications of this action and just wants to take a funny picture of her sister and herself on the webcam (observe the angle of her left arm, it seems to be coming toward and below the camera, as if clicking a mouse that is in front of the monitor in which a webcam is mounted). These children live somewhere in the US, I would wager the South-East; Due to it’s high concentration of Hispanic people, the fact that the entry door is wide open in January [remember the EXIF data] with a mostly naked wet child in the room, and the bureau style being so much more common in the east.

      Of course, I could be completely wrong, but that is what I gathered from the information given.

      • waffles

        Speculation yes, but the commenter was attempting to extract as much data as possible based on the image. Are all of his conclusions correct? Probably not. But it was a good effort on his part. And he didn’t say that he retrieved the exif data from Facebook.

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