UPDATE: Kara Alongi was found late Tuesday afternoon, and after hospital evaluations, was released to go home with her parents at six this morning. The news broke about eleven minutes before this post went live. Alongi was found in South Jersey, and police state that they have yet to speak with the teen, and determine what she was doing for the 46 hours she was missing, or how she got to South Jersey. At this time, police state they are just happy that Kara is home.
Sunday night, a 16 year-old girl named Kara Alongi from New Jersey tweeted that someone was in her house. She asked Twitter to call 911. The Twitterverse sent the tweet viral—it was retweeted over 33,000 times– the girl gained 100,000 followers, and the hashtag #HelpFindKara began trending on Twitter in the United States.
At first, it appeared that something truly was amiss. Her parents returned from a younger sibling’s event, and found Kara missing from the home, her cell phone still inside. The police were called, and people began to pray that she would be returned home safely. People on Twitter and on news media speculated as to what happened to Kara. Was it the boy she told, in no uncertain terms, that she would not date via Twitter? What was that picture about with people creeping through the backyard at dusk? Did she send the tweet asking for ‘help’ before or after this ‘abduction’ occurred? Would the search the police initiated bring a girl home to her family, or a body home to mourn?
Then the details came out. It was all a hoax. A half-assed hoax by a 16 year-old girl, no less.
Police now say their leads point to a teenage runaway situation. First, there were no signs of breaking and entering at the home, although the back door was unlocked. Makes sense, since the bloodhounds brought in the conduct the search confirm she left through the back of the house, went through the neighbor’s yard, and then around the corner. There, the scent of Kara goes cold. Then there was the cabby who stated to police that he picked up a girl matching Kara’s description in her neighborhood at around the time the tweet went out, and took her to the train station. It appears there may be other witnesses at the train station who’ve seen Kara as well.
Of course, Twitter, as Twitter is wont to do, began to self-correct its heartfelt concern for Kara almost immediately after the police statement denying an abduction scenario went out. Now Kara is the target of jokes and public mockery on the social media site. Normally I’m not for bullying teenagers, but this time, I think it may do Kara a bit of good. A dose of her own medicine, if you will.
After digging deeper into Kara’s Twitter profile, one begins to see a girl who didn’t play nicely with others on the site. There was the boy she ridiculed, allegedly for asking her out. There are the girls she called fat, and worse. The teen even called her cat a bitch, as teens on Twitter apparently are required to call people (and animals) names under the auspice of good fun.
Perhaps a little public mockery and name-calling directed towards Kara would do her (and the world) some good. Perhaps it’s time for us to start calling out all individuals—including teens—who cannot seem to participate in civil society, on a more frequent basis. Of course, I’d like to see Kara, once she’s found, work off the bill for overtime her local police department likely ran up in conducting the search for her. Preferably in some good, ol’ fashioned community service, billed at minimum wage. While she’s searching for her manners, perhaps we can #HelpFindKara an apron at the local soup kitchen.