Digital footprints

I will be posting the case of the disappearance of a pair of sisters, Zemleh and Hanan Al-Nahardy. They ran away from Detroit last fall. Normally I like my runaways to have been gone for a year or more before I post them, but the fact that they’re sisters and young–Zemleh was only thirteen, Hanan a year older–caught my eye.

I found a Facebook page of someone who looks very much like Zemleh and has the exact same name minus the hyphen, and lists her place of residence as Detroit. Her profile says she can speak Arabic and German. Although she claims she is married, it probably is my Zemleh. Annnd although I couldn’t find a FB profile for Hanan, I found a photo blog in her name that has, among other pics, the same one used on her missing child poster.

So wherever they are, they’re active on the web. Not unusual for runaways. They may even be in some communication with their parents or whoever is looking for them. Probably law enforcement is aware of this too. But a runaway must be physically located before you can say they’re “found.”

9 thoughts on “Digital footprints

  1. Peter Henderson July 24, 2012 / 6:13 am


    You should not make the assumption that authorities have found the pages that you found.

    A couple of years ago I found a teen missing in South Carolina on MySpace. She had been missing for six months. When I contacted the local police they had no idea she was posting. They thanked me and said they would be in contact with their counterparts in the town she was now living in. A week later NCMEC announced that she had been recovered.

    Someone from the website “Help find the missing” found a 16-year-old teen from Georgia living in Ohio two and a half years after she vanished. This was a case of running away to be with a older boyfriend. You had the girl on Charley. Similar to my case that person found her on MySpace.

    Now an adult her pictures, she was living in a condo, showed that she was fine. But for two and a half years the only thing her family and the police knew was that she was missing. Again the local investigators never did a search of social websites in a effort to find her.

  2. Saffy July 24, 2012 / 9:15 am

    that is almost certainly Zemleh. My guess, they ran away from a probably strict family….
    they hauntingly remind me of the Shafia girls, especially that photo of Zemleh with her phone.

  3. Lori July 25, 2012 / 2:00 am

    I’d call it in personally

    • Meaghan July 27, 2012 / 4:07 pm

      I did. Turns out they knew already.

  4. Jennie {in Wonderland} July 26, 2012 / 12:55 pm

    I hate to imagine why they might have run away… it could be a horrific home life.

    • Meaghan July 27, 2012 / 3:00 am

      Or maybe they wanted to see the world. Or they’re with a non-custodial relative. (Sometimes, with teenagers, such cases are listed as runaways rather than family abductions.) Or maybe they have boyfriends they want to be with. Or maybe they got grounded by their parents for something, got mad and ran, and are too embarrassed/proud to come back. Who knows. All we know is that they’re listed as missing.

      • Peter Henderson July 27, 2012 / 7:05 am

        Correct Meaghan,

        Kids run off for an number of reasons. The ones you mentioned and others far less benign. The one thing that’s clear is that girls that age can’t survive on their own so for better or worse someone is helping them

  5. B July 21, 2013 / 11:34 pm

    Or maybe they have the type of Muslim parents who don’t understand what it’s like being American teens. I’m not bashing Muslims (I’m married to one), I’m just saying honor killings is not an outrageous thing to many of them, even here. It may be a toss up on their safety missing or at home. I don’t know the whole story, just more speculation. Any updated info? I haven’t found much online.

    • Meaghan July 23, 2013 / 4:42 pm

      Have you ever heard of Shafilea Ahmed? She was a Pakistani-British teenager (born in the UK I think) whose parents wanted to marry her off when she was like 15. She felt so trapped and anguished by the idea that she drank drain cleaner. She survived the suicide attempt, and her parents continued to press the arranged marriage on her, and when she refused they killed her. They didn’t even find the body for months. The murder took place in the UK and both parents are now in prison.

      As for the Al-Nahardy girls, Zemleh was I think arrested in June 2012.
      The photo on the right is from June 2012 and it looks like a mug shot to me. But she dropped out of sight again right after. And she’s taken down her Facebook page.

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