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Email Forward: Help Identify Young Girl Caught in Tsunami

by Brett M. Christensen

Versions of this email forward have now been circulating continually since soon after the Asian tsunami disaster of 2004.

The young girl pictured was indeed a victim of the tsunami. However, the child was identified and returned to family members in Germany quite soon after the disaster.

After the girl’s photograph was posted on the Phuket International Hospital website and a number of news publications around the world, she was identified as 10-year-old Sophia Michl of Germany. Soon after she was identified, Sophia was taken home to Germany and reunited with family members. 
Sadly, Sophia’s parents, Mr Norbert and Mrs Edeltraud Michl, died along with many thousands of others when the tsunami hit on Boxing Day 2004. Norbert Michl was a well-respected attorney-at-law who worked for a German law firm.

The following information about the death of Mr and Mrs Michl is included on the company’s website:

On December 26, 2004 Mr. Michl and his wife Edeltraut Alsdorf-Michl were victims of the Tsunami disaster in Khao-Lak. Their daughter Sophia survived the catastrophe. We lost a friend, partner and founding partner of our firm with whom we harmoniously and successfully collaborated since 1989. Likewise, we miss him as a competent professional colleague as well as a most cordial individual who moved all of us forward.

The continued circulation of this email several years after Sophia was identified and taken home is pointless and will serve only to clutter inboxes.

similar email that asks for help to identify a little boy caught in the tsunami also began circulating soon after the disaster. Thankfully, like Sophia, the little boy, later identified as Hannes Bergstroem, was reunited with members of his family after the disaster.

Example:(Submitted, March 2009)

Subject: Do you know this girl???

Please forward this if you have any overseas contacts… thank you..

This little girl is at the PHUKET HOSPITAL – She does not remember her own name or anything about herself. She has lost her parents, please forward this EMAIL to all your contacts – someone might recognise her. She was a victim of the tidal wave disaster in Phuket, Thailand and nobody knows who she is. So we are hoping if we distribute this EMAIL around the world someone, God willing, will recognize her.

Please don’t just delete this – your contribution could be the one that solves this little girl’s problem

Even if you are one of the people who believes that it is always someone else’s obligation to help the misfortunate, please know that forwarding this will cost you nothing. Let’s help!! Forward this to everyone you can.

Help identify tsunami girl post

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer