Update Jan, 2016: It seems this story, which is well over 2 years old, is still floating around on facebook, as this page gets a burst of traffic every now and then. I have decided to alter the person’s last name in order to protect their privacy, as they were a minor when this event occurred.
A story of a 15 year old girl missing from her home in Cold Lake, Alberta recently went viral. There were several variations, but one read: “This is a picture of Haley Dumay, she went missing earlier this afternoon, after calling 911. She was on her paper route, and thought she was being followed by a black truck with tinted windows. When the police arrived at her home, they could not find her. She went missing from the english bay area (26st) in Cold Lake, Alberta. If anyone sees her, or witnesses any suspicious behaviour, call the police immediately. Please keep an eye out, and share this post.” That particular message was shared over 30,000 times, and there were others out there. This thing was massive.
Of course, I was very worried for the welfare of Ms. Dumay. I was trying to follow the story in the media but there was just nothing out there, which was…. odd.
Finally, roughly 18 hours since the story went viral, the RCMP released a statement. They had found Haley safe and sound at a campground and she had admitted to making up the whole thing. Here’s the statement:
On August 6th, 2013 @ 3:15 pm Cold Lake RCMP responded to a call of a missing or possibly abducted 15 year old female from her residence in the north end of the City of Cold Lake, Province of Alberta. Police conducted extensive inquiries and pulled in a number of resources in effort to locate the female and to determine what occurred leading up to the incident.
At approximately 8:00 pm and as a result of extensive media and social media coverage Cold Lake residents located the female at a local campground and contacted Police. The female was taken to the Cold Lake Health Centre for examination and released. Police interviewed the female at which time she admitted to fabricating the entire story. The Cold Lake RCMP will be working closely with the family to offer support in addressing any underlying issues.
The Cold Lake RCMP wish to thank local media for assisting us in getting the word out, and the residents of Cold Lake who assisted the RCMP in bringing this matter to the best possible conclusion.
So that’s that. I’m posting this here because this is being deleted everywhere (Haley’s faebook page, which was filled with prayers for her safe return, has now been pulled, and postings on media outlets have also been pulled) and I think people who want to know how this turned out deserve to know.
There’s also been a bit of a witch hunt going on, with people pointing fingers at family members for spreading false information. I think we have to assume they didn’t know. Just let the authorities handle it.