These days, many of us turn to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and the like to catch up on our friends’ lives, instead of picking up the phone to call them or paying them a visit. But getting bad news via social media about someone we love is a new and sometimes disturbing trend.
A Clayton County, Georgia, woman is outraged because after she searched for nearly a month for her son, she learned of his death via an unusual Facebook message from the police. The Clayton County Police Department sent the message to Anna Lamb-Creasey to inform her of the death of her son, Rickie Lamb, after he was struck by a vehicle on Jan. 24.
Lamb-Creasey told Atlanta’s WSB-TV News that she was not aware that Facebook messages not sent from friends show up in another box titled ‘other.’ Lamb-Creasey was further confused because the message was sent by someone called Misty Hancock, but the message asked for Lamb-Creasey to contact Lt. Schindler. Clarence Cox, a spokesperson for the Clayton County Police Department, said that the account had previously been used in “an undercover capacity.” Cox also told WSB-TV News that the department had no intention of the Misty Hancock name getting out to the media.
Twenty days after Rickie’s death, Lamb-Creasey’s daughter called the phone number from the Facebook message. The family was then informed of the bad news of Rickie’s passing.
Lamb-Creasey is upset that the police did not use another method to contact her, or at least use an official Facebook account to reach out to her. The Misty Hancock account’s profile picture is of rapper T.I. and one of his daughters at a birthday party, which only added to Lamb-Creasey’s confusion.
Clayton County Police Department spokespeople, for their part, claim that police made several attempts through different channels to contact Lamb-Creasey but could not reach her. The police department said it is researching why the Misty Hancock account was used for the message.