Facebook, AMBER Alert Join Forces to Find Missing Children

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Facebook, AMBER Alert Join Forces to Find Missing Children

Post by Piper on Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:31 pm

Facebook, AMBER Alert join forces to find missing children

January 12, 2011

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Six weeks ago, Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent, experienced firsthand how Facebook’s viral communication can help lead to the safe return home of an abducted child.

After police found Tina Smith murdered in her Roanoke, Va. Home, her daughter, Brittany Smith, 12, missing, along with Tina Smith's boyfriend Jeff Easley and Smith’s car, they issued an AMBER Alert for the area, and posted the alert on the Virginia State Police Facebook fan page.

"With a click of that button went images of Brittany Smith and Jeff Easley and a descriptor of that vehicle" to 24,000 Virginia State Police Facebook fans, Col. Flaherty said in a press conference Wednesday, announcing Facebook’s new AMBER Alert program. The page gained 200 more fans by the end of the day, "and they too were able to share the story with their friends and fans."

The link spread across the country on Facebook, and as often happens with links on the social network, the local story made national news. Five days later, on the other side of the country, a woman spotted the missing pair outside a store in San Francisco. Recognizing them from TV, she notified the authorities, which led to Easley’s arrest and Brittany’s safe return to her father in Virginia.

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Re: Facebook, AMBER Alert Join Forces to Find Missing Children

Post by TigerMom on Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:54 pm

Thanks for posting this Piper! I was not aware that there was an amber alert page. Funny how the internet can be a horrible thing and a good thing. Hopefully more children can be located this way and returned to their families.

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