The ballad of Christopher Dorner may have ended Wednesday in a hail of bullets in the snowy California mountains. Or did it?
As the country waits for officials to identify the body found near Big Bear Lake, a resort town outside of Los Angeles, the conspiracy theories that have been swirling about the accused cop-killer's saga have reached a fever pitch.
Update, Feb. 15: On Thursday, a San Bernardino County sheriff spokeswoman positively identified the burned remains as those of former police officer Christopher Dorner. The headline of this post has been changed to reflect this new information.
Gawker pointed out that Dorner's wallet has been reported at three different locations throughout the course of the manhunt: Lindbergh Field, also known as San Diego International Airport; the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the U.S.-Mexico border and the burning cabin.
The site's Cord Jefferson points out that it's possible Dorner had multiple IDs. It's also possible the media misreported the evidence, or, alternatively:
There's the possibility that the wallet skeptics have found the one flaw in a carefully scripted police conspiracy, and that the police made a conscious decision to lie to everyone about finding Dorner's wallet in multiple places, in an effort to...well, it's not clear why the police would do that. General mayhem?
A Facebook page called Christopher Dorner Death Conspiracy even questions how any ID could have been found if the fire was reportedly so intense the body was unidentifiable.
It's not surprising that Dorner "Truthers" have come out of the woodwork in droves this week -- after all, similar theories abounded following the Sandy Hook massacre -- but it is worth mentioning that mainstream media have taken notice.
In an article entitled "Did Christopher Dorner Really Burn to Death in That Cabin?" The Atlantic Wire's Alexander Abad-Santos notes some of the speculation regarding whether the charred body found in the cabin really is Dorner's. He also mentions the controversy regarding whether or not police intentionally started the fire. (San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon later said officers did not start the blaze on purpose.)
Blogs across the Internet have come to Dorner's defense, asking whether Dorner received due process and suggesting he was framed by police.
"To some people it suggest that police want to silence Dorner for reasons that are unknown at this moment," host Pakman said.
Other theories center on authorities' call for a media blackout as news spread that Dorner may have been cornered in the remote cabin.
The Australian news site News.com notes that this apparent attempt to block or discourage coverage of the firefight seems suspicious to some. For example, a now-deleted tweet from the San Bernardino District Attorney's account called for a Twitter blackout, claiming it was "hindering officer safety." The New York Times also reported that for a period of time, "The sheriff’s online feed to the department’s radio scanner was shut down for the same reason."
As the Daily News points out, social media users were also full of questions, many of which have remained unanswered.
Hastags such as #dorner and #teamdorner soon became a clearinghouse of theories:
— Pappa Bear (@SoCalMilitia) February 14, 2013
Food for thought. How do we know #Dormer actually exists? Theoretically, he could be fictional, to allow the US use of drones on civilians.
— Anthony Long (@boneidlestudios) February 14, 2013
— Nicole Devereaux (@NicoleDevereaux) February 14, 2013
Rounding out the commentary was buzz from conservative pundits, such as Glenn Beck, who claimed that "Dorner's killing spree was a plan by 'radical progressives' to create an 'oppressive government,'" BuzzFeed writes.