Archive for July, 2011

WEBSTER, N.H. — Investigators say offering up a cash reward is the next logical step in a case like the disappearance of Celina Cass, because so many days have gone by with no information leading to her recovery.“One of the things we are looking at is every single possibility that is out there to get someone to give up information is crucial,” said Don Nason, a former law enforcement officer who now runs an investigative center for missing children and cold cases. Nason says that a cash reward can often times produce vital information.“The next step here giving some money out and seeing if anyone is going to come forward. Someone who otherwise wouldn’t come forward without the money,” said Nason.

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Ruth ‘Rudy’ Carter, 21, went missing from Loyola University in Louisiana on May 28 and made no contact with anyone until she was discovered by a private investigator. Surveillance video showed her leaving the campus carrying a large box and backpack after returning to her dormitory following a local party.

After she was reported missing, she did not make any attempts to contact family or friends, which was out of character for her, according to her mother. Since she went missing, and her mother Nicci Carter said disappearing without notice was out of character.

Her family put up a $5,000 reward and hired a private investigator. The private investigator located Ms. Carter in a hotel in Mississippi in safe condition. No information was given regarding the reason for her disappearance.

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It’s not just teenagers, college kids and adults on Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster.  “Tweens,” and even younger kids, are curious about the social networking sites that they see their older siblings and parents participating in.

Facebook and MySpace require registered users to be at least 13 years old but we all know that it’s easy for a child to pretend to be older when they sign up for an account.  Researchers have confirmed that a growing number of children are ignoring the age requirement  -  or using social networking sites designed for younger children.

In two surveys reported in 2009 by Pew Internet Research — of 700 and 935 teens, respectively – 38% of respondents ages 12 to 14 said they had an online profile on some website.

Sixty-one percent of those in the study, ages 12 to 17, said they use social-networking sites to send messages to friends, and 42% said they do so daily. The data in the study was from 2006, so one can safely assume those numbers are higher in 2009.

Are children younger than 12 years old using social networking sites?  “Of course they are,” said Amanda Lenhart, a researcher at Pew and one of the report’s authors. “They’re using them because that’s where their social world is. Because there’s no effective way to age-verify … children very quickly realize, ‘I just say I’m 14 years old, and they’ll let me use this.’ ”

Many parents also worry that younger users of social networking sites could be targets for online predators. While there are some concerns that kids aren’t mature enough to make good decisions about their privacy, most are savvy enough by their early teens to know what, and who, to avoid. Younger children need more parental supervision.

Alternately, a growing number of networking sites are geared specifically toward kids under 13. Sites such as Disney’s Club Penguin — mainly a game site, but with limited social functions — WebKinz and Whyville feature more restricted and supervised networking. These kids-oriented sites are in a ways a  training ground for future use of mainstream social networks, such as MySpace and Facebook.

See a List of Social Networking Sites

Beware, cheating husbands and wives.  The use of a GPS device to track your whereabouts is not an invasion of privacy in New Jersey, a state appellate court panel ruled today. Based on the battle of a divorcing New Jersey couple, the decision helps clarify the rules governing GPS technology increasingly employed by suspicious spouses – many of whom hire private investigators. “For the appellate division to say that it’s not an invasion of privacy is a wonderful thing for private investigation business,” said Lisa Reed, owner of LSR Investigations in Flemington. It’s been something we’ve been haggling over for some period of time.”

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