Fake post about child ‘missing’ after baseball practice circulating online

13 January 2023
What was claimed

A child named Tyler Miller is missing from Lincoln.

Our verdict

This is not a real missing persons appeal. The picture is actually of a girl from Australia, and the wording of the post is very similar to a number of fake posts we have previously checked.

A post on Facebook falsely claims that a child named Tyler Miller is missing from Lincoln.

The post includes a picture and a caption which reads: “This is the most recent picture of my son Tyler Miller, he left yesterday morning for baseball training and he never came back.

“He was last seen wearing black converses with white and red shoelaces as well as a red zip-up hoodie, he has dirty blonde hair, blue eyes and he’s about 5’4-5’5 and 124lb.

“Please help me find him”.

This is not a real missing persons appeal. The wording of the post is almost identical to a number of very similar claims we have checked in the past, and the picture appears to have been taken from a November news report about a 14-year-old girl from Australia seeking a bone marrow transplant. 

Maggie, the child pictured, is also currently featured on the website of blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan alongside an appeal to find her a matching stem cell donor. 

In reference to another similar post within their area, a spokesperson for Surrey Police previously said: “There are similar posts in other Facebook groups around the UK using variations on this name and the same photographs. Please do not engage with these posts. Always check official police social media channels for information on high risk missing people.” 

This style of post is very popular on social media, with other fake appeals often referring to missing pensioners or pets

One way of identifying these fake appeals is checking to see whether the comments are disabled, which is often done to prevent social media users from commenting that the post isn’t genuine. We’ve seen a number of instances where these sorts of posts are edited after reaching a lot of people, so they instead advertise surveys or housing websites. 

Image courtesy of Jess Zoerb

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