Case closed.

Did you hear about the murder in Government Camp? It didn't happen.

Here's what happened:

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Department sent out a news release through FlashAlert at 1:40 pm Thursday, November 21 about a "death investigation" underway "near Government Camp."

The release offered few details but stated, "At this time, the death has been deemed suspicious."

The alert continued: "Detectives from the Sheriff's Office Homicide and Violence Crimes Unit (HVCU) and personnel from the Clackamas County Medical Examiner's Office are en route to the scene."

Before long, television crews were en route to the scene as well. Journalists on the hunt for breaking news monitor FlashAlerts closely, and when they see news of a death deemed suspicious, they move quickly. They are under huge pressure to get the story out there immediately, and the first place they post is online.

Within a matter of hours, vague news reports of a body found at a vacation rental home on Mount Hood had spread to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Connecticut Post and 20 other publications online. It was revealed that the body was found at Collins Lake Resort, a condominium complex under the same management as Mt. Hood Skibowl.

Several of the news reports ran quotes indicating that there was nothing for locals and visitors to fear, but the unstated inference was that there was a killer on the loose on Mount Hood, trying to evade the authorities. Combine that with the sporadic reports of backcountry fatalities on the mountain, and you get the perception that this is a very dangerous place.

Not the case at all. A day after the first FlashAlert, the Clackamas County Sheriff's office followed up with an update about the death of 39 year-old Russell Martin Klyce:

"After an extensive investigation, detectives from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office determined the death to be accidental in nature and closed the case. This decision was made once the scene was processed and after consulting with the Medical Examiner's Office."

End of story.