Myth Blaster: Ashley Flores Case Revisited

AshleyFlores Tara M., Wisconsin (JTM Boxers) sent this email that I remember as having posted it when LP Journal was a website, before changing to a blog journal; therefore it cannot be found in the archives – so I will post this one for future reference [unedited]…

My 13 year old girl, Ashley Flores, is missing. She has been missing for now two weeks. Maybe if everyone passes this on, someone will see this child. That is how the girl from Stevens Point was found by circulation of her picture on tv. [sic] The internet circulates even overseas, South America, and Canada, etc. Please pass this to everyone in your address book …

Myth Blaster Verdict: FALSE.
According to Urban Legends, who posts a slightly different version, writes:

Most missing child alerts circulated via e-mail fall into one of two categories: genuine reports of missing children that continue to be forwarded long after the child has been found, or hoaxes imploring readers to look for children who aren’t missing or don’t exist. …
The text of the e-mail (reproduced as we first received it in May 2006) does not include some of the most basic information one would expect to find in a genuine missing child plea: where the young girl (Ashley Flores) went missing, when she went missing, when and where she was last seen, a physical description of her, contact information for her parents, contact information for the local police authorities, handling the case, etc. …
Meanwhile, the one piece of identifying information provided in the message, a e-mail address, produces a “no such user” error when mail is sent to it, and a variety of searches through news accounts and law enforcement and missing child web sites, including the site of the Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), fails to turn up any mention of a missing girl named “Ashley Flores.” … According to the
Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Everyone is concerned about this girl,” said Athena Ware, spokesperson for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “We’ve gotten quite a few of those e-mails here. But it’s not an active case in our system.” It’s not an active case because it isn’t true. It’s a hoax – pure balderdash, sheer hornswoggle, a regular mountain of malarkey. There may indeed be an Ashley Flores living in Philadelphia, but nobody has reported her missing to the Philadelphia Police, said Yolanda Dawkins, a department spokesperson. The FBI hasn’t received any notice about young Ashley, either. Neither has the Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Police for that matter. An Acme spokesperson said that the market had received numerous inquiries and offers of help, but knew of no employees named Flores who had a missing daughter.
In one day alone (19 May 2006), our site registered over 25,000 searches from readers looking for information about Ashley Flores.

Maybe those that pass on hoaxes like this should be prosecuted along with the author(s) of these hoaxes, and this sort of chain-mail nonsense will end once and for all. Freedom of Speech under the protection of the First Amendment does not include the right to spread lies, hoaxes, and anything that bears untruth or defamation of a person, organization or business entity.
The photograph of “Ashley Flores”, – obviously a real person? It is thought that the original email was a gag by a couple of students who posted another student’s photo via the Internet as a joke.
You can help stop hoaxes or rather the dissemination of them by checking out the material/subject matter before passing it on and by sending suspect email to