In missing teen case, social media was both blessing and curse - FOX 13 News

In missing teen case, social media was both blessing and curse

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

By: Vanessa Ruffes and Josh Cascio/FOX 13 News


With his daughter's life hanging in the balance, Roger Lyon took to technology in an effort to bring her home.

Lyon credits media and social media for the rescue of his missing daughter Ashley, but he also warns technology can work against parents.

After disappearing with convicted sex offender Steven Myers last week, social media helped an employee recognize Ashley and Myers at a truck stop outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In a news conference Thursday, Lyon thanked the public for their help, but warned parents about the equally negative power of technology.

"You can trust your teenage children, but they are always going to be one step ahead when it comes to technology," Lyon said.

"There are more things I learned in past week about what you can do with iPod, with a cellphone, how you can disguise things, how you can do things on social media. You need to get in there and you need to verify."

After Ashley went missing, Lyon was able to pull cellphone records showing roughly 2,000 texts between his 16-year-old daughter and Myers.

Lyon then harnessed social media, using it to create the "Help Find Ashley Lyon" page.

He also spread the word with the hashtag “#FindAshley”

It kept the story alive.

"You saw something, you said something, and that's what brought this to a conclusion," he said.

Years ago, the common milk carton, was a popular way to help find missing kids. In 2014, the box is a smartphone and social media.

"The difference between then with the milk carton and now with this is, you're reaching so many more people and doing it instantly," said FOX 13 senior web producer Chris Boex.

Fox example, FOX 13's posts alone on this story were shared more than 25,000 times, reaching about a million people.

"You could argue that without this being a social sensation, Nancy Grace wouldn't have picked it up and ultimately that message wouldn't have gotten to the people who need it," Boex pointed out.

That person was a cashier at a truck stop near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She recognized Ashley from the coverage on Nancy Grace and got on the phone with law enforcement.

After a dramatic, 40-mile car chase, deputies arrested 41-year-old Steven Myers. But not before Ashley was stabbed 10 times.

She's alive tonight, and for that her family is thankful.

"My main concern is healing my daughter and making my family whole again," Lyon said.

And thankful for the power of social media.

"Mark Zuckerberg, I love you man, for creating Facebook," Lyon said.

But on the flip side, Lyon encourages other parents to be more vigilant than he was.

"I don't normally check the data plan until the billing cycle is up, and it says, 'Hey you're almost at 100% of your plan. Then I say, 'All right who's using all data?'" he said. "Keep an open communication channel with children. Sometimes just simple question like, 'What are you doing? How are you doing today?' and a hug every night before they go to bed to let them know you love them and you're concerned."

 

Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices