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Chain emails and online postings seek help locating Ashley Flores, a 13-year-old girl allegedly missing in Philadelphia.
Circulating since: May 2006
Status: False (details below)
As shared on Facebook, April 2, 2012:
I am asking you all, begging you to please forward this msg on to anyone and everyone you know, PLEASE. My 13 year old girl, Ashley Flores, is missing. She has been missing for two weeks It only takes 2 seconds to forward this. If it was your child, you would want all the help you could get. Louise Louw Tel: + 27 31 303 1001 Cell: + 27 82 509 6676 SFTBC
Email contributed by M.M., May 11, 2006:
Subject: Missing Girl from Philly
Please pass this to everyone in your address book.
We have a Deli manager (Acme Markets) from Philadelphia, Pa who has a 13 year old daughter who has been missing for 2 weeks.
Keep the picture moving on. With luck on her side she will be found.
"I am asking you all, begging you to please forward this email on to anyone and everyone you know, PLEASE. My 13 year old girl, Ashley Flores, is missing. She has been missing for now two weeks. It is still not too late. Please help us. If anyone any where knows anything, please contact me at:
I am including a picture of her. All prayers are appreciated!! "
Ashley Flores missing
It only takes 2 seconds to forward this.
If it was your child, you would want all the help you could get.
Analysis: This is a hoax, circulating since May 2006. Neither the Philadelphia Police Department nor the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children lists (or has ever listed) a missing child by the name of Ashley Flores. No Amber Alert has ever been issued in her name.
Moreover, the viral message contains none of the critical details one would expect to find in a real alert -- for example, a physical description of the missing person, the time and place of disappearance and contact information. Another giveaway is the presence in the body of the message of several sentences copied word-for-word from previous "missing child" hoaxes (see Penny Brown and C.J. Mineo).
The Ashley Flores / MySpace Connection
Though she never really went missing, it appears that Ashley Flores does exist and lived in Philadelphia when these alerts first started going around. By following hyperlinks embedded in a version posted on MySpace.com, I found an exact match (long since deleted) for the image above in a photo gallery on Photobucket.com, along with several others (long since deleted) that were uploaded by the same user and featured a young woman named Ashley who bore more than a passing resemblance to the girl pictured above.
The images were posted by someone using the screen name "Vixter609," whom I found blogging under the same alias on MySpace.com with her given name listed as "Vicki," her age as 17 and her city of residence as Philadelphia.
When I contacted Vicki to ask what, if anything, she knew about Ashley Flores and her status as a "missing person," I received the following reply (reproduced verbatim):
ashley flores is not missing it was a merly a joke that got completely out of hand please imform everyone that e-mail that she is NOT missing it was a joke im sorry about any confusion
Subsequent inquiries went unanswered. That this little joke caused "confusion" is putting it mildly.
After a version of the Ashley Flores email containing the contact info of the Rolla, Missouri police department circulated in 2009, said police department was forced to change its telephone number because it was receiving up to 75 calls per day on the matter. The city's online FAQ page still contains a reference to the hoax.
The Flores alert is listed on the U.S. Department of Justice Amber Alert website as a known hoax.
'Weekly Press' Gets Punk'd
Philadelphia Will Do (blog), 1 June 2006
Missing Girl Hoax Spreads
Sydney Morning Herald, 28 June 2006
Fake Amber Alert Spreading Throughout Utah
Deseret News, 10 February 2009