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Pleas For Help:
Missing & Dying Children
The messages about
forwarding email to help dying children relies on the hoax that forwarded
email can be tracked. Since we know it can't, all of these are
hoaxes. These types of messages cause real problems for real
agencies. The Make-A-Wish Foundation, the target of several hoaxes,
spends time and energy debunking hoaxes, taking time away from their work
with children. The police agencies called about a bogus missing
child alert take time away from their duties to tell people that the
message is not correct. Please check with a hoax researcher before
contacting any company, agency or law enforcement agency about a
questionable message. Hoax researchers have the time and energy to
devote to such things, these agencies and companies don't and shouldn't
The messages are designed to pull at our heartstrings.
They make us think that we can help someone without lifting anything more
than a mouse. Guilt inducing language is used, such as "if you
delete this, you have no heart," or "what goes around
comes around." One could wish that to be true for the designers
of these hoax messages.
Messages about missing children need to be checked either through a
reliable hoax debunking site or directly through the National Center for
Missing and Exploited Children. PLEASE, PLEASE, DO NOT forward these
messages until they have been checked. Most are outright hoaxes,
many are years old and the rest are generally solved. Forwarding
these, especially the hoaxes, compromises the Amber Alert system as well.
Missing Child Penny Brown
This message was circulating
back in 2000. No child by that name has ever been reported
missing according to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
No one knows who the child in the picture ( a red haired girl between the
age of 8 - 11 yrs.) included in the message was and no one ever came
forward with an identification.
Missing Teen Evan Trembley
A big hoax. The kid
did this himself. He used the text from a couple of old hoaxes and substituted
Missing Child Jewel Strong
This is not exactly a
hoax, but old and inaccurate. 2 1/2 year old Jewel Strong went missing May 28,
2006 off Jetty Beach in Panama City, FL. It was believed that she drowned, but
the body was never found. She was from Morrow, GA, but was visiting her
grandparents at the time.
The family claims that
authorities would not issue a missing persons report because they believe that
she drowned and it would be contradictory to their claim. Yeah, I am so sure
that the police have no desire to find a missing child. Witnesses saw the child
being pulled under by a strong current. It seems there is a grieving family
here who cannot accept what happened and have developed a conspiracy theory to
give them hope. One of those witnesses was the child's 18 year old cousin, who
was also pulled by the current, but managed to get free. Rip currents in
Florida are very common (I live in Florida).
Missing Teen Ashley Flores
missing girl message about Ashley Flores is an exact duplicate of the Penny
Brown message. The picture was of a teenager by the name of Vicki who posted her
picture and information on Myspace. When contacted about this by Urban
Legends and Folklore, this was Vicki's reply:Ashley
not missing it was a merely a joke that got completely out of hand please inform
everyone that e-mail that she is NOT missing it was a joke I'm sorry about any
Missing Child Rachelle Smith
On May 16,
2006, Reachell Smith was abducted from her home by Leigh Cowan, a
non-relative who lived in the home, on May 16th. He was later found dead after
committing suicide. An active search for the child was called off. Police have
little to go on to find out what he did with her. Police are not looking for a
living child, but what he did with her body.
DYING CHILDREN HOAXES
SLOW DANCE POEM
This has been
circulating since about 1999. The "Slow Dance" piece was added in 2001.
The poem was written by David L. Weatherford
and published in 1991 by the Russ Berrie Company.
Some versions have the name of a Dr. Shields as the sender.
Dr. Shields' involvement with this
letter is a case of
False Attribution Syndrome.
He has nothing to do with this hoax other than the fact that he forwarded the
message and automatically attached his "signature" to it.
This is an old message that
had a new lease on life in 2002 thanks to a sweet picture of a baby.
The message was supposedly from her father.
The new, 2002 version claims that the child is 10 months old and has
leukemia. Little Rachel is growing younger!
American Cancer Society
This one claims that the
American Cancer Society will donate 3 cents for every forwarded email for
a dying child or even for some named adults. One version contains a
poem called "Slow Dance" with claims that it has been written by
a sick child. None are true. The ACS has denounced all and
once again, this hurts a real agency. By the way, ACS RECEIVES
donations for cancer research. They don't donate it.
You can never help anyone by forwarding email.
Bruce (or other children) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation
Same story, different
verse. These messages have made the Make-A-Wish Foundation very
unhappy. According to APB News, they receive hundreds of inquires
about these hoaxes every week. "These calls divert our staff and
resources from fulfilling existing wishes," President and CEO Paula
Van Ness said. You can never help anyone by
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