Home Hoaxes Ashley Flores Missing Child Hoax

Ashley Flores Missing Child Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email forward claims that 13-year-old Ashley Flores is missing from Philadelphia.


Brief Analysis:
The message is a hoax. Ashley Flores is a real person but she is not, nor has she ever been, missing. The hoax has now been circulating around the world for over four years.

Example:

Please circulate this — what if it was your daughter? . “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: [Numbers Removed]

please look at the picture, read what her mother says, then forward this message on.

Ashley Flores

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. The internet circulates even overseas, South America, and Canada etc. Thanks

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:
HelpfindAshleyFlores@yahoo.com
I am including a picture of her. All prayers are appreciated!! ”

It only takes 2 seconds to forward this.

If it was your child, you would want all the help you could get.



Detailed Analysis:
This email forward claims that 13-year-old Ashley Flores is missing from Philadelphia. It asks recipients to pass on the message to their contacts in the hope that someone has seen Ashley.

However, the claims in the message are untrue. In fact, the message is just another pointless missing child hoax. Ashley Flores is a real person but she is not, nor has she ever been, missing. And even back in 2006, when the hoax message first began circulating, Ashley was a lot older than thirteen. Information in an About.com article indicates that, this “missing child” message started as a joke perpetrated by a friend of Ashley’s that got completely out of hand. Since it was first launched in 2006, the fake missing child alert has circulated all around the world.

The structure and much of the wording of the message is very similar to that of an older hoax email (included below) that claims a child named Penny Brown is missing. Both messages include the information about the “girl from Stevens Point” and there are a number of other similarities. For example, the Penny Brown hoax includes the following:

We have a store manager (Wal-Mart) from Longs, SC who has a 9 year old daughter who has been missing for 2 weeks. Keep the picture moving on. With luck on her side she will be found

The Ashley Flores message includes a virtually identical paragraph with some minor details changed.

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.

These strong similarities indicate that Ashley’s “friend” has simply used the older hoax message as a template, altered the details a little and substituted a new photograph before sending it onward.

And, just for the record, extensive searches of news and other credible sources revealed no information whatsoever about a missing child named Ashley Flores. There was nothing about this supposed missing child on the Philadelphia Police Department Website. Searches on the website of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and others sites that deal with missing children also revealed no information about a child named Ashley Flores.

Like others of its kind, the message does not include any way of verifying the name, age and circumstances of the youngster depicted in the attached photograph. Emails sent to the address listed in the message are “bounced” back with an error message noting that the address is not valid.

In the years since the hoax first began circulating, several slightly altered versions have made their appearance. One version that has circulated widely in Australia claims that Ashley went missing from Mandurah, a city south of Perth in Western Australia. Other versions have claimed that Ashley went missing from a number of different cities and towns across the United States, as well as other locations in South Africa and the United Kingdom. As with the original message, the information in these newer versions is totally untrue.

While the original creator of this hoax message may not have intended to cause serious harm or concern, false messages about missing children are especially nasty. Such hoaxes have a negative impact on police departments and missing child organizations who must waste their valuable time and resources fielding endless enquiries about supposedly missing kids that either do not exist at all or are not and never were missing. The continued circulation of such hoax messages also make it less likely that genuine missing child alerts will be taken seriously.

This message has now circulated for several years. If you receive this message, please inform the sender that it is a hoax and do not forward it to others.

Penny Brown Hoax example:

amber alert

please look at the picture, read what her father says, then forward his message on.

Maybe if every one 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. The internet circulates even overseas South America, and Canada etc. Thanks

Please pass this to everyone in your address book.

We have a store manager (Wal-Mart) from Longs, SC who has a 9 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 9 year old girl, Penny Brown, is missing. She has been missing for now two weeks.. It is still not too late. Please help us. If anyone anywhere knows anything, please contact me at: [EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED] I am including a picture of her.V All prayers are appreciated!!

It only takes 2 seconds to forward this on. If it was your child, you would want all the help you could get



Last updated: 23 February 2012
First published: 16th May 2006
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Missing Child Hoaxes
About.com – Missing Child: Ashley Flores
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Hoax-Slayer: Penny Brown Hoax
Code Amber: Penny Brown hoax

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