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Social media credited, in part, with finding missing little boy

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
November 25th, 2014

Social media proved its power on Nov. 19, becoming an instrumental tool in helping to find a missing 10-year-old Castlegar boy in Trail (his name is being withheld to protect his and his family’s privacy).

At roughly 6:30 p.m., RCMP Cpl. Dave Johnson contacted The Source and asked the word be spread about a missing child.

Within roughly two hours, 398 people had shared the link, 27,852 people read the story, and Facebook says the post reached 57,808 people.

Selkirk Forestry student Liz King was one of the residents who called 9-1-1.

“My Mom saw it on The Source and sent it to me via Facebook,” she said. “I got on the bus around 4 p.m. yesterday and saw this little boy – he’s tiny, you notice him. He seemed to have no idea where he was going. I called 9-1-1 – it was really weird, I’ve never spoken to them before. I’m sure I’m not the only person who called but, hey, I told them which way he was going.”

On that same bus, full-time driver Berle Jablonsky also noticed something out-of-place.

“I was driving the Castlegar run – to Selkirk College and back,” she said. “A young man came on with a walking stick in his hand, paid his $2 and asked for a transfer. It struck me as odd that he wasn’t quite sure where he was going.

“He seemed okay, didn’t seem upset, and seemed to know what he was doing,” she added.

Jablonsky said he got off at the stop near Hall Basics and she headed on to the bus garage(her shift was finished), then to the hospital to visit a friend. Her friend showed her the Facebook post and Jablonsky started calling around, first calling her supervisor (who was in a meeting), then trying to reach the non-emergency line at the Trail RCMP (the detachment was closed) and finally calling 9-1-1.

“Within 10 minutes, they had found him,” she said.

She said the Facebook posting was a significant factor in her notifying police, as children ride her bus all the time, attending schools and extra-curricular activities throughout the region.

At the end of the evening, the 10-year-old boy was found, safe and sound, and returned to the care of his parents – due in large part to caring residents’ use of social media.

Categories: General

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