Authorities in Missouri told BuzzFeed News Thursday that they found "no criminal violations" after investigating Greg Chism and his terminated YouTube channel Toy Freaks.
The channel — which had amassed over 8 million subscribers before YouTube, under pressure, shut it down in November — featured his young daughters pretending to be babies and engaging in infantile behavior. In some videos, Chism seemingly terrified one of his daughters, who was in the bathtub wearing a swimsuit, with a frog and lobster.
"The St. Charles County Cyber Crimes Task Force looked into your inquiries regarding Gregory Chism and the Toy Freaks YouTube channel," a spokesperson for the St. Charles County, Missouri, Police Department told BuzzFeed News Thursday afternoon.
"In a cooperative effort with the Granite City, Illinois, Police Department, and after consulting with prosecutors in Illinois, Missouri, and the US Attorney’s Office, it has been determined there were no criminal violations," the spokesperson said. Adding, "St. Charles County Police Department is not investigating Mr. Chism or the Toy Freaks YouTube channel."
Last month, BuzzFeed News reported that authorities in Granite City, Illinois, said there was an "ongoing investigation" with regard to Chism and the footage — but no agency would publicly say it had taken the lead.
"This is an ongoing investigation and will not comment further at this time," Detective Lieutenant Nick Novacich of the Granite City Police Department told BuzzFeed News on Nov. 28. "We will advise you, through our State’s Attorney’s office, if charges are going to be filed."
Joel Green, Chism’s lawyer, said on Nov. 22 that they would cooperate with law enforcement if an investigation began. Green didn't immediately answer a request for comment on Thursday.
YouTube said that the company was not aware of any law enforcement authorities that reached out to Google, its parent company, about the videos and did not answer follow-up questions at the time. YouTube didn't immediately return a request for comment Thursday.
A representative from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services told BuzzFeed News last month that the family no longer lives in Illinois “and we have contacted the Missouri Department of Children and Families hotline about the concerns raised in these inquiries.”
Rebecca Woelfel, the communications director for the Missouri Department of Social Services, told BuzzFeed News on Thursday that the agency could not comment due to confidentiality.
In previous statements to BuzzFeed News, Illinois-based prosecutors and authorities had expressed concern over the footage
“I think it is fair to say that we were all alarmed by the bizarre content of the videos,” said Tom Gibbons, Madison County state's attorney on Nov. 29.
“Everyone is disturbed by this, but finding the proper criminal aspect to being a bad parent at times is challenging,” Granite City Police Chief Rich Miller said at the time.
Remy Smidt is a reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Remy Smidt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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