After a large and widespread social media campaign on Tuesday night, missing girl Angie was found “safe and sound”.
The Facebook post was shared a massive 2431 times, and reached people all around the MIA regions, even reaching people as far as Adelaide, Melbourne, and towns in Queensland.
Tom Williams, who posted the call out, was thankful to the community for its support and help on social media, and in a heartfelt comment, showed his appreciation.
“She has been found safe and sound and is staying with friends for the night! Thankyou to everyone who shared this post, commented, sent me a message or text!”
“My family and I are blown away by all your support and I am amazed at how far this message got! We wouldn’t have been able to find her without your support!
“I cannot thankyou all enough from the bottom of my heart! It goes to show that even when humanity can do some terrible things there are still more then enough good people out there to make a difference! Thankyou all so much once more!!!!!!”
Around 11 pm Tuesday night police were notified the missing person was at a location, and was staying at a Leeton address.
Police went to the address and sited her, and no further action was taken, as police were satisfied that she was safe and well.
While the missing girl in question was found, police wish to raise concerns over the use of social media to spread the word and obtain information.
Duty Officer John Wadsworth warned of the potential hindrance using social media can have on an investigation.
“The only comment (on the use of social media) is when we have a missing person, there is a really strict format for police to follow, including call out procedure for SES and specialist search coordinators,” he said.
“This can be spoiled by people putting stories on social media, because we then have information coming from sites that we cannot monitor, and we may miss something...social media can expanded too much and confuses the message”.
The police have no doubt that social media is a vital tool for the police, however they have their social media and other media outlets, and responses by trained agencies can be organised, which saves them time by not having to respond to false reports.
National Missing Persons Coordination Centre says social media is a powerful tool when used correctly and it can help to raise awareness of missing persons cases in the community.
For more information about special media and missing persons, visit NATIONAL MISSING PERSONS COORDINATION CENTRE.