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Plea to Help Find Missing Three Year Old Girl - Jewel Strong

Outline
Circulating message claims that the three year old girl depicted in an attached photograph is missing and asks that recipients forward the message in the hope that someone has seen her and can help reunite her with her family.



Brief Analysis
The message is based on a real case. The child in the photograph is Jewel Strong, who disappeared after a swimming accident in May 2006. Searches failed to find any trace of the child and authorities believe that she drowned. However, her family always held on to the hope that she somehow survived. Unconfirmed sightings have kept this hope alive. This message does not name the child and records neither the place nor the time when she went missing. And it does not list who to contact if the child is actually seen. It is therefore of very limited use as a missing person alert.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



Last updated: 22nd November 2010
First published: 22nd November 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: Missing 3 year Old Girl

if she was your daughter you would forward it.

Missing 3 year Old Girl -
You never know, who knows who.

PLEASE HELP US BY FORWARDING

LETS ALL COME TOGETHER TO TRY TO BRING HER BACK HOME TO HER FAMILY AN MAY GOD BE WITH..............I JUST SENT IT TO 217 OF MY FRIENDS NOW ITS YOUR TURN......WHAT CAN YOU DO!!!!!!!

Sending this out for a friend have you seen her ? pass along

Jewel Strong




Detailed Analysis
This message, which circulates via email, Facebook and other social networks, asks recipients to look out for a missing three year old girl in the hope that she can be located and returned to her family. The message includes a photograph of the missing child. It asks recipients to help by passing on the message to others. However, the message does not name the child, nor does it provide any details whatsoever about her circumstances. It does not provide a location where the child went missing. Nor does it state when she went missing. In fact, the message does not even provide information about who to contact should someone actually see the child. Thus, its usefulness as a missing child alert is seriously compromised.

That said, this vague and unhelpful message is nevertheless derived from a real missing child case. The child in the photograph is Jewel Strong of Georgia in the United States. Jewel disappeared without trace after a swimming accident at Panama City, Florida in May 2006. Jewel and a relative were floating on an inflatable raft which capsized, dumping them in the ocean. A September 2007 news report about the case notes:
Jewel and her family were vacationing on Panama City Beach, in May 2006.

On May 28th, Jewel and an 18-year-old relative were on a raft just a few feet from the jetties at St. Andrew State Park. They flipped-over and fell into the water.

Sheriff McKeithen says a fisherman pulled the 18-year-old cousin out of the water, but Jewel never resurfaced.

"Eyewitnesses place her on the raft. Eyewitnesses saw Jewel slip beneath the seas. No one saw her surface again. No one saw her pulled from the water."

Although the family held a memorial service 6-days later, Jewel's parents refused to believe she'd drowned.
After extensive searches of the area found no trace of the child, authorities believed that she had indeed drowned. However, her family refused to give up hope and unconfirmed sightings along with video footage showing a child resembling Jewel in various locations in the US were enough to keep this slim hope alive. However, authorities were not convinced that the child in the videos was actually Jewel and have seen no reason to reopen the case.

The above missing child alert is apparently a mutated version of earlier, more detailed messages that began circulating after the child's disappearance. Early versions, like the one below, included the same photograph of Jewel:
Missing 3 year Old Girl - Jewel Strong

Another child missing. Please forward to everyone you know. Her family needs your help finding her.

PLEASE HELP US BY FORWARDING THIS EMAIL UNTIL THIS REACHES A WORLD-WIDE AUDIENCE AND JEWEL IS RETURNED HOME SAFELY

Racharel Strong (father) - 404-357-1881
Simona Strong (mother) - 404-313-4255
Tiesa Locklear (aunt) - 678-234-4902
Tramesa Locklear (aunt) 678-480-1635
Ursala Williams (aunt) 678-362-5246

GOD FIRST, PEOPLE

If this was your daughter you would forward it.
Missing 3 year Old Girl -
You never know, who knows whom
Even if Jewel is still alive somewhere as her family maintains, the continued circulation of the abridged and mutated version of the message that is currently going around is of little value. To be useful, any missing person alert should contain at least basic information, including the name of the missing person, where and when the person went missing, and who to contact if the person is actually seen.

Finally, it should be noted that Jewel's photograph was also attached to one version of a long running "amber alert" hoax that falsely claimed that a seven year old child had been abducted by a "man driving a newer silver truck":
EVERYBODY ON MY LIST BETTER POST ATLEAST ONCE,""

****AMBER ALERT **** 7 YR OLD GIRL *** TAKEN BY A MAN DRIVING A NEWER SILVER TRUCK IN IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO. ** LICENSE PLATE NUMBER... 72B381. *** "PLEASE KEEP THIS GOING!!". WHAT IF THIS WAS YOUR LITTLE GIRL?

if she was your daughter you would forward it.
This "amber alert" hoax has circulated in many forms. It appears that some malicious prankster has simply added the photograph of Jewel in an attempt to make one version of the hoax a little more believable.

Bookmark and Share References
Girl in Videos is Not a Missing Girl
Family Says Missing Girl Spotted on Surveillance Tape
Man Reports Seeing Missing Girl Wednesday



Last updated: 22nd November 2010
First published: 22nd November 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer