Posts about a missing man with Alzheimer’s are hoaxes

25 January 2023
What was claimed

A photograph shows a man called Gary Penney who has Alzheimer’s and has recently gone missing.

Our verdict

This photograph shows a different man. The post is a hoax.

Posts on Facebook are claiming that an 89-year-old man called Gary Penney has gone missing in various different parts of the UK.

These appeals are hoaxes.

The posts claim that Mr Penney “went for a ride [...] on his old bombadier outlander early morning”.

They also say: “He has Alzheimer and they may have also run out of gas along the way.”

At least two posts (placed in neighbourhood groups for Dicot, Oxfordshire and Isfield, Sussex) use a photograph of a man from the US not called Gary Penney, who was pictured in a different post last month about his work with dogs.

Both posts appear to come from the same woman. In fact these are separate, clone accounts, each of which is described as a “Supermarket / Convenience store”.

Another post (in a neighbourhood group for Effingham, Surrey) uses a different picture of another American man called Vern English, whose images are often used in hoax missing people alerts.

Mr English died last year.

Comments on all three posts have been disabled, which is a sign that a missing person appeal may not be genuine, according to Derbyshire police.

We have seen many recent examples of hoax Facebook posts falsely claiming that elderly men have gone missing in many different places around the country, along with other, similar hoaxes about children and pets.

We’ve often seen posts like this being changed after reaching a large audience, so that they advertise surveys or housing websites instead.

Image courtesy of Mykyta Martynenko

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