Missing child Facebook scam snares Pasco mom - WRBL

Missing child Facebook scam snares Pasco mom

Posted: Updated:
Christina Potwin Christina Potwin
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco (L) with Potwin (center) Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco (L) with Potwin (center)
Potwin posted this pic of her daughter on Facebook when she ran away Potwin posted this pic of her daughter on Facebook when she ran away
NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -

Social media sites like Facebook can be a valuable tool for fighting crime, but one recent case in Pasco County shows that criminals can exploit that tool as well.

Christina Potwin says when he daughter Jasmine ran away, she first called authorities, and then looked for help on line.

"I was scared.  Distraught.  I thought somebody had my daughter," said Potwin.

Potwin posted her daughter's picture on Facebook, and asked if anyone had seen her.  A man named Christian Mills responded, and claimed to know where Jasmine was.  He told her if she paid him, he would give her the information.

Potwin says she realized it was all a lie when Mills told her to send money to Nigeria.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco says this case should be a lesson to all parents, to watch what you post on social media.

"We warn people, don't tell people, 'hey I'm about to go to the supermarket or my kids are leaving for school now'," said Sheriff Nocco.  "You know, those types of things give people in the community, people out there, 'hey, now that I know you've left your house, your house is empty, I'm going to burglarize it'. "

Christina Potwin's daughter was found safe and sound, and Christian Mills never got a penny of her money.

Potwin says it was a painful lesson to learn as a parent.

"Just that there are mean people out there.  Just to hurt them.  More than they are already hurting," said Potwin.  "And I hope it doesn't happen to anyone else 'cause it's the worst nightmare."

Pasco Sheriff's officials are working with federal authorities to track down Christian Mills, but they admit it's likely they will never catch him.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:59:58 GMT
    This Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in PinellasThis Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in Pinellas
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
  • RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:45:14 GMT
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
  • How thieves clone your credit cards

    How thieves clone your credit cards

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:15:02 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
  • NewsMore>>

  • Tampa WWII veteran receives medal in hospice care

    Tampa WWII veteran receives medal in hospice care

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:36 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:36:26 GMT
    William Cobbs is a World War II veteran who received recognition today while in hospice care.William Cobbs is a World War II veteran who received recognition today while in hospice care.
    William Cobbs is a World War II veteran. He served as a medic at a hospital treating the wounded during the “D” day invasion.Later he served as a guard for General Dwight Eisenhower.Cobbs is in the final chapter of his life, with a diagnosis of cancer.
    William Cobbs is a World War II veteran. He served as a medic at a hospital treating the wounded during the “D” day invasion.Later he served as a guard for General Dwight Eisenhower.Cobbs is in the final chapter of his life, with a diagnosis of cancer.
  • Mother takes stand in Tampa baby throwing trial

    Mother to take stand in Tampa baby throwing trial

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:43 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:43:00 GMT
    Jasmine Bedwell, the woman who caused a mistrial in the Richard McTear case last year, is set to testify Wednesday.
    Jasmine Bedwell, the woman who caused a mistrial in the Richard McTear case last year, is set to testify Wednesday.
  • Walmart to hire 95 for new Sarasota store

    Walmart to hire 95 for new Sarasota store

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:40 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:40:43 GMT
    Facebook photoFacebook photo
    Walmart is planning on hiring up to 95 people to work at a new Walmart Neighborhood Market scheduled to open this fall in Sarasota.
    Walmart is planning on hiring up to 95 people to work at a new Walmart Neighborhood Market scheduled to open this fall in Sarasota.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 'Extraordinary' little boy finishes triathlon with his disabled brother

    'Extraordinary' little boy finishes triathlon with his disabled brother

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:52:34 GMT
    (Photo: Courtesy Today.com via Aldrich Family)(Photo: Courtesy Today.com via Aldrich Family)
    Never underestimate the power of brotherly love. Eight-year-old Noah Aldrich didn’t want his 6-year-old sibling Lucas — who is confined to a wheelchair — to miss out on a youth triathlon this month.
    Never underestimate the power of brotherly love. Eight-year-old Noah Aldrich didn’t want his 6-year-old sibling Lucas — who is confined to a wheelchair — to miss out on a youth triathlon this month.
  • Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:08 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:08:35 GMT
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
  • Boy, 8, bitten by shark in knee-deep water in Brevard

    Boy, 8, bitten by shark in knee-deep water in Brevard

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 8:52 AM EDT2014-07-23 12:52:24 GMT
    Aadyn Crick. Image courtesy WESHAadyn Crick. Image courtesy WESH
    An Indiana boy, 8, on vacation in Central Florida with his family, got bitten by a shark, WESH reported.
    An Indiana boy, 8, on vacation in Central Florida with his family, got bitten by a shark, WESH reported.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.