Missing Girl's Inactive Facebook Profile Alerted Family

The case of Bethany Anne Decker, a 21-year-old pregnant woman from Virginia who has been missing since the middle of January, shows how police clue into a Facebook profile to see if they can help find someone.

The case of Bethany Anne Decker, a 21-year-old pregnant woman from Virginia who has been missing since the middle of January, shows how police can clue into a Facebook profile to see if they can help find someone.

A senior at George Mason University in Washington, D.C. , Decker’s profile was active for some time after she was last seen on January 29, which led her family to believe that she was fine. It wasn’t until her Facebook profile ceased all activity that her family made a more real-time effort to be in touch.

Officially reported missing on February 19, Decker is believed to be five months pregnant and also has a 17-month-old son. Her husband, Emile Decker, also 21, is currently stationed in Afghanistan but police in Loudon County, Virginia have also set up an interview with the man over video link. The husband recently visited his wife in the month of January, but no clear timeline has yet been established as to when he left the U.S. and his wife disappeared.

“I’m praying and have faith that she’s safe,” said her mother, Kim Nelson in an interview with NBC Washington.

The family’s first notion that she might be missing occurred on February 2, when she failed to show up at her husband’s deployment event. Her 17-month-old son Kai lives with her parents so she can attend college full-time, but her family believed she wouldn’t be away from him this long unless there was a problem.

“She was up in Maryland at my parents’ house, and we were on speakerphone with her up there,” said Nelson of the last time she and her daughter spoke, on January 28. “We were quite concerned after it had been awhile where she hadn’t contacted us…and her friends started contacting us too, saying we haven’t heard from her, we haven’t seen her.”

It is believed that the last person to see her alive was a boyfriend. According to police officials, both the boyfriend and the husband have been cooperative with police.

Why do you suppose Bethany’s posts on Facebook continued for a while after she was last seen?