The claim: Slain Officer Ella French was a mother to a 2-month-old infant
Following French's death, some took to social media to claim that she was a mother to a 2-month-old infant, and that she recently returned to work after maternity leave.
"My prayers go out to the family of Police Officer Ella French. She was only 29 years old and just got back from maternity leave," reads an Aug. 8 Facebook post with more than 1,500 shares. "She was ambushed and gunned down last night in Chicago. She leaves behind a 2-month-old baby."
Similar versions of the claim have been shared widely on Instagram and Twitter. The claim was also picked up by online sites such as The U.S. Sun and The Daily Mail, both of which have since updated their articles.
A member of French's family and the Chicago Police Department publicly have said those reports are inaccurate.
USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook and Instagram users who shared the post for comment.
French did not have any children
French's brother, Andrew, told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview that his sister was not married and did not have any children.
At a news conference on Aug. 8, a reporter asked Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown if he could comment on the rumors that French had just returned from maternity leave and had an infant child.
"That is not accurate," Brown said in response. "I would just encourage you not to follow Twitter news. The mom requests that we withhold more information about her daughter until she is ready to hear you all report it."
Mayor Lightfoot joins CPD Superintendent Brown for a media availability regarding last night’s tragic events.
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) August 8, 2021
The Officer Down Memorial Page, a nonprofit organization that honors officers killed in the line of duty, says French is survived by her mother and brother.
It's unclear where exactly the claim originated, however, Stephanie Lulay, managing editor of Book Club Chicago, pointed out in a Twitter thread that several news sites were attributing the information to unnamed reports.
Lulay found the earliest versions of the claim appeared on unverified social media accounts.
Our rating: False
We rate the claim that French was the mother of a 2-month-old baby FALSE, based on our research. French's brother said his sister did not have any children. The Chicago Police Department also said the claim is not true.
Our fact-check sources:
Chicago Sun-Times, Aug. 8, Slain Chicago police officer 'wanted to do good for the world,' brother says
Officer Down Memorial Page, Aug. 7, Police Officer Ella G. French
Chicago Police Department, Aug. 8, Twitter video
Chicago Police Department, Aug. 8, Facebook video
Stephanie Lulay, Aug. 9, Tweet
Stephanie Lulay, Aug. 9, Tweet
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Posts make false claims about fallen officer Ella French