Twins learn of teen brother's death on Facebook
Twins logging on to Facebook to read birthday wishes instead discover that people have left RIP posts about their 17-year-old brother. Police hadn't notified the family.
Put yourself in their shoes.
They are twins. It's the morning of their 20th birthday. So they log on to Facebook, expecting to find messages from well-wishers.
Instead Angela and Maryanne Vourlis discover posts that read "RIP Chris Naylor" and "RIP Bobby." It took more than a few seconds for them to realize that their 17-year-old brother was the "Bobby" to which the posts referred.
According to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, the twins saw the RIP posts and tried to call their brother.
They then called their mother.
"I rang Mum and said: 'Chris Naylor must have died--I just read it on Facebook. But where's Bobby? People are writing 'RIP Bobby' too," Angela Vourlis told the Telegraph.
But Mrs. Vourlis knew that Bobby had been out with Chris Naylor. The family then called the police in order to discover the truth.
Bobby was one of three teens who died when their car smashed into a pole in heavy rain on the Great Western Highway at Colyton, near St. Marys in Sydney, Australia.
Bobby's uncle Peter Matelis told the Telegraph: "It's every parent's worst nightmare to lose a child in a car accident, but to have to hear it on Facebook, then have to chase up the police yourself, is just horrifying."
The police claim they had trouble identifying the victim. But the family saw the Facebook posts six hours after his death around 3 a.m. Sunday.
While everyone has now come to expect that social networks have become the most immediate and regular ways in which many people communicate, there are some experiences that no-one ever imagined would play out through sites like Facebook.