On Sunday, news started to spread that internet celebrity Christine Chandler escaped jail. As it turns out, it was another fabrication in a long line of rumors about the complicated social media personality.
Chandler, better known by their online moniker Chris Chan, is a transgender woman and one of the most chronicled people online, known for their creation of the Sonichu character (a cross between Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog). Chandler was arrested in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2021 on charges of incest after a recording of her allegedly admitting to having sexual relations with their mother leaked. She was transferred to the Central Virginia Regional Jail with their sex labeled as male, the jail captain confirmed at the time, and has been there since.
The pre-trial of the case has been sealed, with only small bits of information being shared to the public. On Aug. 8, a grand jury met and Chandler waived their right to indictment.
“The reason that the case was sealed was because there was so much intense legitimate and illegitimate external interest about Ms. Chandler,” Chandler’s lawyer Dave Heilberg told Passionfruit. “Greene County is a small rural place.”
The lack of actual information hasn’t stopped misinformation from spreading. A screenshot of a 4chan post with tens of thousands of likes claimed that Chandler escaped through the window of a courthouse bathroom and that police were unable to locate them. The story made little sense, but it didn’t stop it from spreading like wildfire through the app. Memes mocking Chandler pulled in tens of thousands of likes, with many excited at the chance to see more in the continued saga.
But Chandler is still currently being held at the Central Virginia Jail. The jail confirmed with Passionfruit that, “as far as [it] knows,” she is still there. Heilberg stated, “I cannot confirm or comment about any rumors, but I am unaware that Ms. Chandler ‘escaped’.”
Since 2008, hundreds of social media posts and dozens of hours of video from Chandler have been chronicled and shared, mostly mocking their controversial behavior. There is a lot of information out there—with one popular YouTube series with millions of views having 66 parts.
Over the past year, Chandler’s case in the Virginia courts has been deferred and granted a continuance multiple times. Internet speculation about the case on Twitter and the controversial hate forum Kiwi Farms has spread rapidly, especially because there’s little content coming out of the trial. Kiwi Farms, which was originally created to chronicle Chandler’s actions, experienced outages last week due in part to the ongoing efforts of Twitch streamer Keffals, who was doxed several times on the forum.