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A grieving mom is furious after finding out about her son's death via a cop's Facebook message -- which she didn't notice for three weeks.
Anna Lamb-Creasey's 30-year-old son, Rickie Lamb, was hit by a car and died on January 24. But Lamb-Creasey had no idea what had happened to her son; she spent weeks looking for him, even posting on his Facebook page to ask where he was.
Then on Valentine's Day, the Atlanta-area mom noticed a Facebook message from someone she didn't know. Turns out, it was a Clayton County police officer, who had bad news to share about her son.
The message was from someone named "Misty Hancock," who used an image of the rapper T.I. as her profile photo, writes CNN. Because Hancock was not friends with Lamb-Creasey, the message had been sent to a Facebook mailbox labeled "Other," where it sat unread for weeks.
Lamb-Creasey says she initially thought the message was fake. But after Lamb-Creasey's daughter received a similar message, the pair called police and learned about Rickie Lamb's death.
Is this any way to inform a victim's next of kin?
Police have a duty to contact a victim's relatives, but there isn't always a standard protocol about the best way to do that.
In fact, the Association for Death Education and Counseling recently funded a study to evaluate the way death notifications are made by law enforcement, according to Officer.com. It's a sensitive topic and one which can have serious emotional and professional repercussions if done wrong.
As Lamb-Creasey's experience shows, using Facebook or other social media platforms to make next-of-kin notifications can backfire in some cases.
Clayton County police say they tried to contact Lamb-Creasey by other means, but were unsuccessful. Still, could there have been a better way for officers to notify her about her son's death? And why did the officer send a message from her personal account instead of an "official" police department account?
An investigation is now underway into the latter question, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Rickie Lamb's funeral is set for Saturday.