Missing New Jersey Teen’s Tweet Leads To Search
CLARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Police are searching for a missing New Jersey teenager after she posted a disturbing message online, prompting thousands of calls to 911 over the weekend.
Around 6:20 p.m. Sunday, 16-year-old Kara Alongi was home alone and posted a message on her Twitter account that alluded to an intruder in her house, police said.
“There is somone in my hour ecall 911,” the message read.
Alongi gained hundreds of followers after tweeting the message and the hashtag “helpfindkara” trended on the social network.
WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reports
Alongi now has more than 100,000 Twitter followers. Her biography on the social networking site says ‘life is a game,’ WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reported.
Alongi’s parents returned home about an hour after the message was posted on Twitter, police said. They immediately called the authorities when they saw their daughter was gone.
K-9 units tracked the teen’s scent from the back door of the house, through a neighbor’s yard and then to the sidewalk and around the corner back onto her block where the scent goes cold.
Police are treating the incident as a missing person’s case and not a criminal investigation after discovering that a person called for a taxi at the teen’s address around the same time the message was posted on Twitter.
A cab driver positively identified Alongi as the passenger he picked up and drove to the Rahway Train Station, police said.
Alongi’s grandfather Paul said the family is worried about her.
“Your dad is out there searching for you,” he said.
“We’re all here waiting for you. It’s ok for you to come home. Don’t feel bad, honey. We know you’re a great kid. We love you, honey. Come back, please,” Alongi’s grandfather said.
“Without the Twitter incident it could’ve been handled strictly as a runaway juvenile,” Police Chief Alan Scherb said. “It gave us leads that turned out to be bogus leads. So it sent more manpower down these wrong-way streets where we could’ve been down the right path to possibly locating her.”
The tweet prompted over 6,000 calls to 911.
“We did get calls from outside agencies, people that showed concerned, we received calls from psychics that wanted to help out,” Scherb said.
Officials believe Alongi might feel she’ll be in trouble for causing a panic but authorities stressed all everyone cares about is seeing her safe at home.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Clark Police Department or send an anonymous tip to Union County Crime Stoppers at 908-654-TIPS, www.uctip.org or text UCTIP plus a message to 274637.