Emerald mum uses Facebook to help find missing daughter
WHEN 18-year-old Rebecca Halloran didn't return home on December 28, warning bells went off in her mother Shirley Halloran's mind.
Every parent's worst fear is not knowing whether their missing child is alive and safe and for Shirley it was no different.
So the Emerald mum decided to take swift action.
After contacting Emerald police to report Rebecca missing, Shirley logged onto Facebook and launched a search party.
But she never expected it to reach as far and wide as it did.
Fortunately through the efforts of police and the online community, Bec has been found and she is safe and staying with a friend in Mackay.
Shirley said the response from Facebook users was amazing.
"I chose to put it on Facebook because I was trying to target her age group and the people who would recognise her photo and they are all on Facebook," Shirley said.
Posting a status online, Shirley told her friends and family what had happened and to contact her, her partner, Rebecca's sister or the police if they had any information about her daughter's whereabouts.
As the story of Rebecca's disappearance spread through the newsfeeds of her own 1681 Facebook contacts, many people began to share the story including her partner.
Shirley's original plea for help was shared almost 2000 times throughout many people's Facebook accounts, while her partner's was shared close to 1000 times.
"Thanks to the awesomeness of everyone who has shared the news about Bee Halloran being missing," Shirley said.
"I'm overwhelmed at the support."
Shirley said the support of the Facebook community illustrated how connected the younger generation was and how useful social media could be.
Late Wednesday night Rebecca, who Shirley said was working her way going through relationship issues with a former partner, contacted her mother after being missing for six days.
Shirley said her daughter was alive and well and she thanked everyone for their support.
"I've had so much support from friends, about 20 phone calls and texts and at least 50 Facebook messages and it's really blown up on Facebook the last few days," she said.
Emerald Police yesterday confirmed Rebecca had been reported missing, but said she was no longer considered a missing person and had told police she didn't want to be "found".