Fake News: Little Girl Is NOT Missing And Police Do NOT Want This Picture To Be Shared To Find Her

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Little Girl Is NOT Missing And Police Do NOT Want This Picture To Be Shared To Find Her

Is a "little girl" named Elizabeth Brown, aged 15 missing in Ruskin and do the police need you to share picture to help find her? No, that's not true: an old report about a missing girl from 2017 was republished in 2019 by a website that was registered in Kosovo, presumably to profit from the traffic. The article got so much traction online that the website seems to have buckled under the load. Fortunately the girl was found two years ago already and there is no need to share the story.

The viral article appeared here on Lifestyle Fans on June 21, 2019 and was titled "Updated: This Little Girl Is Missing And Police Want This Picture To Be Shared To Find Her" (archived here). It opened:

This 15-years-old girl is missing and she could be in real trouble. Police want her picture to be shared massively to find her. Please share as much as you can after reading the description. Hillsborough County Sheriff office's police in Florida are looking for 15-years-old Elizabeth Brown who went missing from Ruskin. Deputies of the ...

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Updated: This Little Girl Is Missing And Police Want This Picture To Be Shared To Find Her

This 15-years-old girl is missing and she could be in real trouble. Police want her picture to be shared massively to find her. Please share as much as you can after reading the description. Hillsborough County Sheriff office's police in Florida are looking for 15-years-old Elizabeth Brown who went missing from Ruskin. Deputies of the ...

However the report about the missing girl actually dates from 2017 as you can see here:

15-year-old girl from Ruskin is missing

A 15-year-old left her Ruskin home on July 20 and has yet to return. Elizabeth Brown was last seen from her home on 1st Avenue Northwest at 11:30 a.m. Hillsborough County Sheriff deputies believe she could still be in the Ruskin area. She is described as 5'02, weighs 115 pounds, and has strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes.

And the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office already announced on August 2, 2017 that she had been located:

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office - 17-317R

News Releases are to be used for informational purposes only. Information provided should not be relied upon for any type of legal action. Release Number: 17-317R Elizabeth Brown has been located. Elizabeth Brown has been located. Description: 5'02", 115 lbs, Strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes Elizabeth Brown left the above location and has not returned.

So there is no good reason for a site that was registered on August 28, 2018 in Kosovo to post the story again:

lifestylefans.info
Domain Information
Domain: lifestylefans.info
Registrar: GoDaddy.com, LLC
Registered On: 2018-08-28
Expires On: 2020-08-28
Updated On: 2019-07-03
Status: ok
Name Servers:
dns1.namecheaphosting.com
dns2.namecheaphosting.com
Registrant Contact
State: Kosovo
Country: RS

Whenever you share a report about a missing person on Facebook, always make sure they haven't been found yet. The report may be out of date or (like in this case) somebody might be trying to abuse people's instinct to help out so they can gain some money via the ads on their website...

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See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:


  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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