This Google Maps photo set off a frenzy of speculation that a killer in The Netherlands had unwittingly exposed her bloody deed to the search engine's ubiquitous cameras.
But what some believed was a trail of blood and a shadowy figure standing over a body on a jetty has turned out to be nothing more sinister than a wet dog.
A Dutch police spokeswoman confirmed that the aerial photo was snapped by Google on a sunny day in 2009 at Koningin Beatrixpark, a parkland surrounding a lake in the city of Almere, just east of Amsterdam, and shows absolutely nothing suspicious.
"We have known about this picture for some time," the spokeswoman, Leonie Bosselaar, told local newspaper Almere Today.
Investigators had even tracked down and interviewed the dog owner who is pictured in the photo with her friend, a police officer from Almere Police Station told ninemsn.
The dog owner told police she was walking in the woods when her pet golden retriever jumped in and out of the lake and then ran up to her on the jetty, shaking the water off its fur and turning the decking dark brown, said the officer, who did not give his name because he is unauthorised to speak to news media.
Britain's The Sun newspaper was the first news outlet to score an interview with the dog owner, 52-year-old Jacquelina Koenen.
"When I saw the picture I realised 'It's my dog'. He loves the water," she was quoted as saying.
"It's hilarious that everyone thought it was murder. But it's great he's now world famous."
News media from across Europe have descended on Almere since the Google Maps image was posted on the social media website Reddit last week by a user under the headline, "A murder near my house on Google Maps".
The post precipitated hundreds of breathless comments as users debated whether they were actually looking at a murderer caught in the act.
Martin van der Voort, owner of a diner perched across from the jetty, said reporters from Germany, Belgium, Britain and elsewhere in The Netherlands had showed up in the past few days to interview him and film the "murder scene".
He told ninemsn he first saw the photo on Twitter and later Facebook before it made international news — but he had always believed the story was an "urban legend in the making".
Yorick Brandsma, owner of a children's party venue called Play Inc., also located across the lake, said he was similarly skeptical.
"I saw the picture about a year ago and my heartbeat rose — it seemed like a brutal murder in broad daylight," he told ninemsn.
"We checked out the pier, but there was nothing to see. If there were a body or body parts in the water we would have been able to see that since the water is very clear."
Mr Brandsma added that the park is a popular spot for dog walking and swimming — but not murder.
Sources: Google Maps, Almere Today, Almere Police, The Sun, Huffington Post, Bilde
Author: Erin Tennant, Approving editor: Mark Worley