When Hayley Faith Wilson slipped out her window
and ran away from home, her father, Ray, uploaded a heart-breaking video on
YouTube. In it, he used white cards to tell the world about how his missing
17-year-old daughter had left behind her mobile phone, along with a yellow
sticky note telling him to let her go.
Although there were a bunch of cynics who
denounced the father’s plea for help as crocodile tears and a ploy to promote
his band Texas Heat, over 620,000 people watched the video, and many shared it
on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #FindHayley and #LoveHayley.
After several days of Twitter users sending
claims they saw her at a party in Oceanside, the trending search party
culminated with Carlsbad police finding the runaway Texan and detaining her.
Ray then flew to San-Diego where he was reunited with his daughter.
This is only one example of ordinary people
using the internet to help the police and shattered families. Since its
exponential growth, a bevy of Sherlock Holmes wannabes have used the world at
their fingertips to not only find runaway girls dreaming of the California life,
but to identify Jane and John Does, and to solve other disturbing cold and
current crimes of rape, murder, and paedophilia.
And sometimes these amateur sleuths go beyond
using the internet…