Facebook hoax about missing child uses photo of girl believed to have been murdered years ago

16 March 2023
What was claimed

A mother is sharing a photograph of her partially-sighted daughter who is “missing”.

Our verdict

The post is a hoax. This photograph shows a girl who went missing in the US in 2019, and police believe was murdered.

Facebook posts that claim to be a mother searching for her missing daughter in various parts of England are a hoax. 

The posts appear in Bristol and Birmingham community groups but use a photo of a girl who went missing in New Hampshire, US, in 2019. 

The identical posts say: “My 7 year old daughter is partially blind and has been missing for 7 hours now. Please if anyone has information about her whereabouts PM me. Please help share this post.”

A reverse image search reveals that the photograph accompanying the posts shows five-year-old Harmony Montgomery, who is believed to have been murdered several years ago. The photo can be found in several articles about her case.

Harmony was last seen alive in late 2019 but was not officially reported missing until November 2021. Police have said they believe she was murdered and legal proceedings are ongoing, but her body has not been found. 

The hoax Facebook posts have disabled the comments section. This is often a sign that a missing person appeal is a hoax, as Derbyshire Police have warned in the past.

The force said: “Again, if the posts have comments disabled, please DO NOT share. Anyone wanting to reunite an vulnerable person would not disable comments [sic].”

Full Fact has written many times about similar ‘missing people’ hoaxes. We have fact checked claims about missing children, abandoned babies and lost elderly people with dementia.

We’ve seen a number of instances where these sorts of posts have been edited after reaching a lot of people to instead advertise surveys or housing websites. 

Image courtesy of Pixel.la

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