The parents of an 11-year-old girl were shocked and angry when an 18-year-old man showed up to their home and asked to mee their daughter after he said the two of them had been communicating on a social media platform, Snapchat, for a year.
According to a report, the Big Lake, Minn., the youth told the man that she was 17.
Police reported that they were called to the home after the man dropped by looking for who he presumed was a teenager that he had been talking with on the platform. The girl had not given the man her address, but he said he was able to find out where she lived through the location services on the app.
The man, who is from Chicago, showed up with gifts and flowers for the girl.
Police noted that no charges were filed against the man because she had never told him her real age.
“This is a prime example of why it is so important to pay attention to your child’s cellular devices,” police said in a Facebook post. “Thankfully everyone is OK, and the heartbroken male is headed back to Chicago on another greyhound bus.”
The Blaze noted:
The Facebook post went viral with more than 6.5k shares and 1,000 comments.
The incident was similar to one with far more tragic ending in 2021 when a 13-year-old girl vanished after telling her friends she was going to meet with a man she had been talking to online. The man turned out to be 22 years old, and police later rescued the girl from his hotel.
Experts say that predators have utilized online social media platforms in order to easily reach victims in an increasingly connected world. Parents are warned to keep children off of social media as much as possible and to monitor who they are talking to and what they are saying online.
In the near-tragedy, the grandmother of the 13-year-old girl called police after she failed to come home in Oak Hill, Fla., from school and did not go to a basketball game she said she would attend.
Deputy Royce James talked to a friend of the girl who told him that she had planned to go to a motel with someone she had met online.
The friend recounted that the man’s name began with a ‘T’ and might have been Tyler, who was from Orlando, and that the girl may have met him at a Dollar General store in Oak Hill.
James was able to secure video surveillance images of the victim from the store. A worker told him that she had been waiting for someone outside of the store earlier.
Doing some more detective work, James searched hotels in the area and eventually found a ‘Tyler’ from Orlando who had checked in the same day. After deputies knocked on the hotel room door, video captured the girl running to hug them.
The girl asked for James to stay with her while she went for evaluation at a local Department of Children and Families facility, and he remained with her. She was returned to her family after the evaluation. Tyler Thompson, 22, was charged with interference with child custody and also with traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child.