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Yohana Ravelo Missing Teenager Hoax

Summary:
Message claims that 17 year-old Yohana Ravelo is missing from her Coral Gables, Florida home.



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, October 2007)
Sergeant Rick Martinez
9105 Northwest 25th Street
Doral, FL 33172-1500 USA

9105 Nw 25th Street - Miami, FL 786 718 1144 x 655

Please take a few minutes to look at this photo and forward this to as many people as you know. This person has been missing for two days now and her family is desperately looking for her.

Please pass this to everyone in your address book.

17 year-old Yohana Ravelo was abducted from Coral Gables , Florida on Friday. If you have ANY information regarding her whereabouts, contact Sergeant Martinez above.

Yohana Ravelo has been missing for two days now. She was last seen on Friday near Coral Gables , Florida . She never reported home and the police are searching for her.

The family is asking for your favor to keep this message going. She could be anywhere and only the power of the internet can help find her.

It is still not too late. Please help us. If anyone any where knows anything, please contact FindYohana@yahoo.com

I am including a picture of her. All help is appreciated!!

It only takes 2 seconds to forward this.
If it was your child, you would want all the help you could get.

Yohana Ravelo



Commentary:
Unfortunately, it seems that an increasing number of youngsters are creating fake "missing teenager" alert emails that feature themselves or one of their friends. The bogus alert messages are generally mutated copies of an old and very widespread email hoax that claims that 9-year-old Penny Brown is missing. These young pranksters simply insert a new name and photograph into the message and change a few of the details to suit the desired situation.

Often, the fake alerts start as a joke among friends and begin circulating via social networking sites such as MySpace. However, they soon escape the confines of these networks as concerned readers who believe the alerts to be legitimate begin sending the messages via email or posting them to blogs and online forums.

In late September 2007, I began receiving submissions about a new variant of the hoax that claims 17-year-old Yohana Ravelo was missing from Coral Gables, Florida. The message contains a photograph of Yohana along with police contact details and a Yahoo email address for reporting information. However, messages sent to the Yahoo email address are returned with a "user doesn't have a yahoo.com account" error message. The police street address provided is that of the Miami-Dade Police. However, the listed contact phone number does not correspond with numbers listed for police in the area.

Moreover, there are no reports about a missing person named Yohana Ravelo on the Miami-Dade or Coral Gables Police websites. Nor are there any such reports listed on websites that publish information about missing or abducted children. There are also no news reports about the supposedly missing teenager. If Yohana was really missing, there would almost certainly be at least some reliable information confirming the claims in the email message. Given this telling lack of information, coupled with the "alert" message's strong resemblance to earlier hoax emails, it is clear that Yohana's "disappearance" is just another foolish prank.

A similar hoax that began circulating in August 2007 claimed that 15-year-old Evan Trembley was missing. It was subsequently revealed that the "missing" boy himself was responsible for the hoax. In 2006, yet another version claimed that 13-year-old Ashley Flores was missing. This version, which continues to circulate more than a year later, was started by some of Ashley's friends as a joke. Soon after the Ashley Flores "alert" began circulating, another teenage prankster attached his own photograph to a version of the message and claimed that one Michael Hunt was missing.

Young pranksters probably intend no real harm when they launch these silly hoaxes. However, they perhaps underestimate just how far and for how long their bogus alerts are likely to circulate. These messages add to the clutter in our already spam-ridden inboxes and, more importantly, they waste the time and resources of police and missing child organization staff who must answer constant enquiries about children who are not missing at all. To avoid adding to these problems, it is important to verify the information in any emails that claim a child is missing before you forward them to others.

Bookmark and Share References:
Penny Brown Hoax
Miami-Dade Police
Evan Trembley Missing Child Hoax
Ashley Flores Missing Child Hoax
Michael Hunt Missing Child Message

Last updated: 1st December 2009
First published: 2nd October 2007

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen