Post about man with dementia missing with his dog is a hoax

15 March 2023
What was claimed

The man in the photograph has dementia and is lost with his dog.

Our verdict

The post is a hoax. The photograph has been taken from a Pinterest account.

A Facebook post about a missing man with dementia is a hoax. 

The post says: “URGENT- MISSING! #oxfordshire Nick Kennedy aged 80 is said to have left home with his dog ginger and he hasn't returned. He doesn’t know where he’s going, he has Dementia. There is a silver alert activated on him. Please help SHARE this post so we can get him home safely. [sic]”

A reverse image search found the same man and dog appear in a series of photos posted on Pinterest. They are also shown alongside a woman.

Comments on the Facebook post have been disabled, which may be a sign that a missing person appeal may not be genuine, according to Derbyshire police.

Another post has almost identical wording but uses a different photo of a man and dog. In this post, the man is instead referred to as “Mr Jones” and the dog as “Rex”. The post can be found in community groups across the UK, such as Durham and Yarmouth.

The same photograph was used recently in a different hoax post, which falsely claimed the man was called Martin Jones, was the poster’s uncle and had a dog called Baxter.  Full Fact traced the photo used in this post to a community Facebook group in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the original post thanking a local volunteer

The posts are likely to have come from the US because they refer to a “silver alert”, which is a type of alert specific to the US that notified the public about missing elderly people with dementia or similar conditions. 

Full Fact has written about Facebook posts with similar false claims many times. This includes hoaxes about missing children, abandoned babies and injured pets

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

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