Missing Child: Cecilia Zhang
Date Added: Nov. 19, 2003
The emotional pain of having a child go missing is unimaginable. It is for this reason that missing child notices like this one are often forwarded without question and without consideration of their long-term consequences. This one was a rare real one, but has a tragic end.
A missing girl has been identified as Dong-Yue (Cecilia) ZHANG a 9-year old grade 4 student at Seneca Hill Public School.
Her parents last saw the child when she went to bed on Sunday night (October 19th, 2003). Her disappearance was not noticed until Monday morning shortly before 8:30 A.M. She is described as; female, Asian, 9 years of age, 4'11", 70lbs, thin build, shoulder length black hair with blond highlights, brown eyes, wearing unknown clothing.
Anyone with Information is asked to contact 33 Division at (416) 808-3300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)
On October 29, 2003, Cecilia Zhang's parents discovered her daughter missing. They had last seen her at 10:00pm the night before, as the child went to bed. Officials believe that abductors entered her home through the kitchen window. The description given above is accurate.
Some versions of this message are labeled an "Amber Alert." This is a fallacy, as the AMBER plan does not include e-mail chain letters. AMBER Alerts are issued via television, radio and freeway signs only in cases where the child's immediate safety is questionable. Alerts are, by nature, temporary and limited to specific regions - not long-lasting and global like an e-mail chain letter. It is true that Ontario officials issued a province-wide alert in Cecilia's case, but they cancelled it 24-hours later. You can't cancel a chain letter.
Tragically, Cecilia's case changed from a missing child search to a homicide investigation on March 27, 2004, when officials confirmed that skeletal remains found in a ravine near Toronto were Cecilia's.
Unfortunately, the e-mail chain letter about her disappearance continues circulating unchanged. Undoubtedly causing heartache for her family and headache for officials who still receive calls about it.
Though I understand the need to spread this information, there are much better ways to do it. The AMBER Alert system, and others like it, are quite effective without e-mail chain letters. For more explanation, read "The Trouble With Missing Child Chains" in the Chain-Breaker's Library.
While often forwarded in good intentions, this type of chain letter can and does cause problems. Instead of forwarding it, point folks to web sites containing reliable and up-to-date information on the case. Break this chain.
References: CNEWS Canada, Snopes.com, CTV