A Close Call for Kelsey
Date Added: Oct. 16, 2000
This one probably started out as a good intention, but has become a rather enduring urban legend about a missing child. As with most missing/sick/dying child chain letters, they are spread by people who think they are doing the right thing, but a little research reveals different.
Subject: Missing Child
***Hope you don' t mind the mass mailing to send this along***
Please READ AND LOOK @ PICTURE THEN pass it on.
I am asking you all, begging you to please forward this email onto anyone and everyone. I have a 5 year old daughter named Kelsey Brooke Jones.
We are from Southern Minnesota. She has been missing since 4pm Oct.11, 1999. The police were notified shortly after. If anyone anywhere knows anything, sees anything, please contact the Police, a missing persons report has been filed. I am including a picture of her.
All prayers are appreciated!! I hope I have covered enough East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast people to spread out the search for this little girl. It only takes 2 seconds to "forward" this on, if was your child, you would want all the help you could get.
(See attached file: snapshot (1).jpg)
Missing child chain letters are different from most e-mail hoaxes because they are usually based on a true event. Kelsey Brooke Jones went missing from her Minnesota home in mid-October, 2000. Kelsey's mother, Amy Wolkenhauer, fell asleep while watching her. When she awoke, Kelsey was nowhere in the apartment. Panicking, Amy called the police who, through a quick search of the area, found Kelsey safely playing at a neighbor's place no more than 2 hours after her mother discovered her missing.
It's uncertain who actually started this e-mail. Jay & Karen Gilio became associated with this chain through a case of False Attribution Syndrome. They were just one of the many people who forwarded it. Unfortunately, their signature block, which was automatically added to the message, led many to mistake them for Kelsey's parents.
E-mail is a very poor tool for spreading the word about missing child. Unfortunately, the speed and reach of the Internet make e-mail a very tempting avenue for someone in dire emotional straits. For all the reasons e-mail chain letters should not be used for this purpose, read The Trouble With Missing Child Chains in the Chain-Breaker's Library.
Either Amy or another family member created and sent this letter in the first few minutes of Kelsey's disappearance. Unfortunately, once she was found safe minutes later, there was no way for the sender to recall or retract it. They may have sent out a follow-up telling that she had been found, but good news never travels as fast or as far as bad. Break this chain.