Mom Finds Out Son Is Dead From the Cops ... on Facebook

Heartbreaking 29

facebookWarning: you're going to want to think this story is a fake, but it isn't. A mother from Georgia is waffling between heartbreak and anger today after police notified her that her 30-year-old son had been killed in a motor vehicle accident. Why is she mad? Because the police reached out to Anna Lamb-Creasey via Facebook to break the horrible news!

Can you imagine? You don't even get the courtesy of a "Ma'am, please sit down" when you get the worst news of your life? It's inappropriate ... to say the least. But it could happen to you too.

Lamb-Creasey and her daughter say they both got messages from an account named "Misty Hancock" that they allowed to sit in their Facebook "other" inboxes because they had no idea who Misty Hancock was. Meanwhile they were worried sick about Rickie Lamb, who had been missing since January 25. They'd been trying to track him down, even calling hospitals and jails.

It wasn't until Rickie's sister opened her "other" box on Facebook that she found the message, called the number, and, well you know the rest. He'd been hit by a car while crossing a road.

As awful as it all is, I can't help wondering if this is how it's going to be in the future. Cops in Clayton County, Georgia say they tried several of the conventional methods for tracking down Rickie Lamb's family, and they kept hitting dead ends. Facebook was their last resort.

Their methods were questionable -- a random account with a strange name is one I'd ignore too. But considering how tight a rein we hold on our privacy these days, it's easy enough to see this happening again and again and again.

Think about it: if someone wanted to find you, how hard would it be, really?

As much as one in four American homes have ditched the land line for a cellphone, the numbers of which are largely unlisted. Sick of spammers, we try to keep our emails private. And no one wants to list their home address on anything anymore, lest some crazy show up at their door.

I lost my address book recently, and it took me a full half hour of Googling to find an old friend's phone number ... and I am pretty GOOD at Googling.

It may be the responsibility of police to notify next of kin in these sort of cases, but a certain amount of the burden has to fall on the shoulders of said kin to make themselves reachable, doesn't it?

Do you think you'd be reachable in case of an emergency like this? Would Facebook be the way they'd find you?


Image via west.m/Flickr

death, facebook


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nonmember avatar Sara

This is a perfect example of why your information needs to be updated with the Department of Motor Vehicles. There is a form you can fill out with emergency contacts as well so if something should happen to you the emergency responders will know who to contact.

nonmember avatar jasdf

The police tried to find this family for a month. ONE of the methods they used was sending a facebook message to phone them. This was the only way that worked. They had gone to their previous residences, called various home numbers and former employers, tried to locate extended family members and sending numerous letters. Facebook is the only channel they responded to, and now they are talking about suing.

BirdCo BirdCo

I'm up in arms...oh wait never mind the cops did all they could to find the family. Seriously fostering hate towards the police is getting tiresome.

work4... work4mickey

It's not like the cops left a message that he was dead on facebook. It was a message to call. And if the cops had unsucessfully tried other methods to reach them, what ecactly were the police supposed to do?

moons... moonshooby

They could have tried other methods, they are the police! If it had been a murder investigation they would have contacted the family within 48 hours for important clues and such even if they were out of state. Local police can work with numerous other agencies local, state and federal. Just like bill collectors can find anyone anywhere so could they have but obviously it was not a priority!!!

CPN322 CPN322

I thought that all states required you to keep your address up to date on your license? If they didn't say he died in the message(which is really awful, I know from experience, not with cops), then I don't see what the family wanted the cops to do. It sounds like they tried all the conventional methods of finding them and could not do so. Why were they so hard to find??? Are all these family members some how not on leases or don't own homes? So weird.

BirdCo BirdCo

Also it doesn't seem like the family reached out to the police when the kid went missing. That would be my first course of action.

lovin... loving2live

The travesty here is not that the police left a message to call back on Facebook, but that the family neither had accurate contact info on record, nor were calling the local and state police to report a missing person or ask for updates.

Another Stir story dramatizing the facts. It's not as if the police posted a public "John Doe died today" as a public Facebook post! (Which is what the article title seems to suggest.)

weird... weirdkids

unfortunatly, i find everything out on facebook. found out my aunt died, uncle died, mom moving, ect.... all on facebook. if it wasnt for that stupid site, id have no clue what was going on in my own family.

nonmember avatar Kelly

Ever since we had our son and went through getting a will, etc. We now put emergency contacts info on the back of our health insurance cards and auto insurance cards. If we go on a date night where we are away from our son, we put a note in my wallet with the babysitters contact info and who should be contacted for custody of our son if we both pass. I would hate for our families to have to go through this.

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