Schoolies death a sick hoax
A SICK Facebook hoax sparked a frantic search for a Toowoomba teenager thought to have died at Schoolies.
Friends and family of Toowoomba State High School graduate Tahlia Wedge-McCabe were stunned early yesterday morning when they opened the 17-year-old's Facebook page to find the post: RIP Tahlia, we will miss you.
It was followed by texts announcing the teenager had died on a beach at the Gold Coast while celebrating Schoolies.
The post and texts were sent from Ms Wedge-McCabe's mobile phone.
Concern intensified when Ms Wedge-McCabe could not be contacted on her mobile phone.
More than 50 messages were posted by her friends in the hours after the mysterious message appeared on Facebook.
"I got a message at like two in the morning saying she died on the beach," one friend wrote.
"What the f--- is the go?"
Another friend desperately wrote: "Hope this isn't a joke cause it's making us all pretty sick. Can't you just tell us what's happened?"
But concern turned to relief when Wedge-McCabe appeared on Facebook late yesterday, revealing her phone had been stolen and used to perpetrate the hoax.
Ms Wedge-McCabe told The Chronicle the whole episode had left her and her family in shock.
The first she knew about the texts and posts was when her mother rang her early yesterday morning in a panic.
"As soon as I found my phone I started texting my family and friends to let them know I was okay," Ms Wedge-McCabe said.
"I just don't understand why someone would do this.
"It really hurt my mum."