[UPDATE: Katie has been found. The Find Katie Peterson Facebook page posted the following update at 10:06 pm EST and those who have been following this story are breathing a sigh of relief.] Knowing that Katie is safe is the best possible outcome but this was also a great example of how social media brings people together in a time of crisis. The way the virtual village came together to share and provide support through social channels was truly amazing.
Katie Peterson from Olney, Maryland hasn’t been seen since she left her home at 6:15 am on Friday, October 25. While a small community in the Washington, D.C. suburbs rallies to provide in-person support to the family of the missing teen, the online community is sharing, liking, tweeting, and posting to Vine and Instagram to help find the 15 -year-old sophomore who attends Sherwood High School in Montgomery County, at the request of her mother, Kelly Wolitsky, who started the “Find Katie Peterson” Facebook page. Since the Facebook page was set up on Friday, the number of likes and post shares climb each minute as word spreads through social media.
Even though Facebook may no longer be the cool social media tool of choice for teens Katie’s age, Wolitsky hopes that somehow her daughter will see her messages.
Wolitsky uploaded recent photos of Katie to be circulated online through social channels, while online community support in the form of comments from those in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, and throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia demonstrated the widespread effect of spreading the word about the 15-year-old’s disappearance.
Facebook is not only a forum for Wolitsky to reach out to her daughter and those who have liked the Facebook page, but serves as a way others can get involved. A fellow Sherwood High School parent urged Katie’s classmates to come forward with any information through this post on the “Find Katie Peterson” Facebook page.
Tonight as the family waits for more information and nightfall brings close to freezing temperatures to the DC Metro Area for the third night in a row, Wolitsky prays her daughter is found soon.
Please spread the word through your social channels to help find Katie Peterson by liking and sharing information on the “Find Katie Peterson” Facebook page and tagging social posts with #FindingKatiePeterson. If you have seen Katie Peterson, please contact Maryland Center for Missing Children at 1-800-637-5437 (1-800-MDS-KIDS), the Montgomery County Police Department, 301-279-8000 (24 hr) or 240-773-5400, Family Crimes Division.
Images courtesy of the Find Katie Peterson Facebook page.