On January 24 at around 11pm, Rickie Lamb of Clayton County, Atlanta, was fatally hit by a car as he was crossing the street. It then took the family almost a month to find out about it because of the police department’s bizarre use of Facebook. The department first allegedly tried to contact his next of kin through “conventional methods” but were unsuccessful. So they sent Rickie’s mother and sister a message on Facebook, telling them to call back urgently. The problem was that the police was using an account under the name “Misty Hancock” with rapper T.I. as the profile picture, and since they weren’t friends with the mother of the deceased, their message ended up in the “Other” folder of Facebook’s messaging system. Which is where it sat for a few days, until Anna Lamb-Creasey (the mother) thought of checking there. But even then, she didn’t call the number provided because of the strange name and profile picture. It took a full 20 days until Rickie’s sister, in desperation, decided to try the number just to see. Sure enough, that’s when the officers gave them the bad news.
“They told me that they did the best that they can do. But I’m not sure about that. (Because) if they can track a criminal down, they couldn’t track me down? They could have done better,” she said, in tears. “I’ve been on my job 13 years. They could have found me.”
The police insist they repeatedly tried to contact the family through conventional means and are looking into why that account was used, versus a more official one.