UPDATE: Just two days after Wisconsin police reopened an investigation into the missing persons case of Kayla Berg, authorities have announced that the YouTube video believed to be a lead is not connected to her disappearance.
Antigo police said in a Facebook post that they identified the man and the woman featured in the video and confirmed the clip was staged and is in no way linked to the case of Berg, who went missing seven years ago at age 15.
The man in the video was recognized by a Reddit commenter who confirmed that he's a "small-time actor who appears in a few dark humor sketches," according to BuzzFeed.
Although this news means that there is still no new evidence in the search for Berg, this may come as a relief to her mother who was hoping the girl in the video was not her.
“I thought it looked a lot like her. I pray to God it’s not,” Berg’s mother, Hope Sprenger, told local reporters when the clip went viral earlier this week.
A seven-year-old YouTube video has recently resurfaced and is now being investigated in connection with a Wisconsin teen’s disappearance.
Kayla Berg of Antigo, Wisconsin was last seen back in 2009 when she was just 15 years old. Nearly a decade has passed, and Berg is still missing. However, a curious Reddit user may have given police their first major lead.
Reddit user hammerforce9 started a thread in the “Unsolved Mysteries” subreddit with a post titled, “Is this a video of Kayla Berg?” along with an Imgur link to a YouTube clip from Oct. 2009 — just two months after she went missing.
The Antigo Police Department announced on Facebook Monday that they would be investigating the video, prompting many to believe the original Imgur post sparked the probe.
The clip was first posted to YouTube by user, “Hi Walter! It’s me Patrick!” The suspicious video was originally titled, “Hi Walter! I got a new gf today!”
The footage shows a man talking to his “friend” Walter about a girl he met at the mall. In the video, however, there appears to be no other person present that “Patrick” is talking to.
Although the video has been removed from YouTube for violating its policies on harassment and bullying, Business Insider offered a detailed play-by-play of the disturbing footage.
“Hi, Walter. I was at the mall today, and guess what happened?” the man asks before gushing over the “most wonderful girl” he met while shopping.
"She picked out the most amazing necklace I've ever seen, and I know she wanted me to buy it for her because she kept on looking at me and kept on giving me that look. You know the look," he continued.
He goes on to detail how the pair left the mall and how he brought the girl back to his home.
“I know she hates cameras, Walter, but I'm going to show you her anyway. You ready?" he asks before the video cuts to a shot of the man in what appears to be a basement.
When he opens the door to the room, a girl who was tied up, gagged, and crying is revealed. The video ends just after the man goes into the room and closes the door.
Questions surrounding the video's authenticity have been raised, but the bound girl’s striking resemblance to Berg, as well as the dates corresponding with when she disappeared, make it worth more follow-up.
Officers reportedly visited a home in Marathon County where it is believed the man in the video lives; however, they were not able to make contact with the residents.
The most distressing part about this story is the fact that the original video lived on YouTube for seven years without anyone batting an eye.
According to the Imgur post, the video garnered more than one million views over the years, and it’s assumed that most viewers dismissed the footage as being staged.
However, something so troubling certainly should have sparked some questions or outrage long before now.
Nevertheless, if this newly discovered footage yields any results in Berg’s case or, possibly another missing girl’s case, it would undeniably be a remarkable victory made possible by social media.
Banner Photo Credit: Facebook, Missing Kayla May Berg