Facebook posts that say a man with dementia and his dog have gone missing are not true.
Several false posts in Facebook community groups say they are looking for help to find a 79-year-old man with dementia named Gerald who has gone missing in different parts of the UK. The picture comes from a story that went viral almost five years ago about a man who sent texts to his daughter about her dog.
One such post, which appeared on November 16 in a Liverpool group for buying and selling, says: “URGENT- MISSING! This is the most recent picture of my dad, Gerald, who is 79 years old. He left Liverpool yesterday at 5:30 p.m. and drove to the airport.
The rest of the post says that the man has dementia and doesn’t know where he lives. It says, “There is already a silver alert in place. Please help us get him home quickly and safely. He went with our dog Cami, who is his best friend.
The post has a picture of a man sitting on a couch next to a big dog.
We found the same posts in Norfolk, Bedfordshire, and Leicestershire Facebook groups. In some cases, the same Facebook account shared the post with groups in more than one place, such as Newcastle and Southend.
The same post also shows up in community groups in Ireland and the United States, among other places. The only difference between the posts is where the last time the missing person was seen was.
The posts seem to have come from the US because they talk about a “silver alert,” which is a way to let people know about missing older people with dementia or similar conditions that only work in that country. The post also says that the man is not carrying a “cell phone.”
Using a reverse image search, we found that the picture used in the posts came from an ABC News story from 2017 about a father named Larry, not Gerald, whose texts to his daughter while taking care of her dog went viral.
The photos in the post are the same ones that the man’s daughter put out around the time the story was written.
We’ve written before about posts that say they need help finding babies who were left behind or figuring out who was in an accident.
We have also written about other posts that falsely say they are looking for help to find missing elderly relatives or other people.