|O, What a Tangled Web We Weave...|
The email alert alleging that five-year-old Christopher John Mineo Jr. has been missing since 1998 first appeared in February 2001, at which time we wrote that not only was there no evidence to substantiate the claims, but the email account of the purported father of the child was configured to reject most if not all incoming email. We figured the message to be either egregiously outdated or a hoax.
Five months later, it remains suspect. Among the contradictory developments since February are Web-posted claims that the child's family has confirmed he was abducted in 1998 but is now home safe and the appearance of a new version of the email stating that Christopher John Mineo Jr. didn't go missing until May 11, 2001.
Here, courtesy of our readers, are updates and comments in chronological order:
From an AOL member, 03/15/01:
What is seemingly weird is that if one checks the AOL member profile for CMINEO0295 it's hardly that of a distraught father. There are jokes, romantic notes, and references to his liking really fast bikes and sex.
From an AOL member, 03/30/01:
Under CMINEO0295's AOL profile, there's a screen name noted for Michelle, his fiancee. I emailed her, inquiring about the validity or resolution of the e-mail, and she replied to me that C.J. had indeed been found and was safe and healthy.
From an AOL member, 04/10/01:
Recently sent an email to the AOL address in the Chris Mineo, Jr. forward... this is the response I received:
"HE IS FOUND. TAHNK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS. PLEAS DO NOT FOWARD ANY MORE. Chris M."
The AOL member profile disappears, June 2001:
As of mid-June, the AOL profile for CMINEO0295 was taken down and replaced with this message:
"No longer using this account...contact me at HILFIGER47"
HILFIGER47's new profile contains pithy sayings like "LIFE SUX n THEN u DIE so HAVE FUN n GET HIGH," but no references to a missing child.
New version of the missing child alert, July 2001:
In July 2001 a new version of the message appeared, claiming that five-year-old C.J. Mineo Jr. went missing this year instead of in 1998:
Subject: FW: Missing Child -Employee of Forest Electric NYC.
This gentleman works for Forest Electric and his 5 year old son has been missing since May 11th please forward to anyone and everyone. Thanks
PLEASE LOOK AT PICTURE THEN FORWARD
I am asking you all, begging you to please, forward this email on to anyone and everyone you know, PLEASE.
I have a 5 year old son named Christopher John Mineo jr, nickname C.J. I am from Brooklyn N.Y. He has been missing since May 11 2001. If anyone anywhere knows anything, sees anything, please contact the original screen name that sent this, which is CMINEO0295@aol.com I am including a picture of him. All prayers are appreciated!!
It only takes 2 seconds to forward this on, if it was your child, you would want all the help you could get. Please.
Christopher John Mineo Sr
(See attached file: lostboy.jpg)
From a reader, 07/05/01:
I have seen this child face-to-face. In trying to contact the father, I cannot get through. Ever think that maybe the father is not the one who put up the block? It can and has been done 'over the wire.' Now, since you insist on calling this alert a hoax, perhaps you'd care to find this man and tell him to his face that his child does not exist. Both you and Mr. Kohler need to try finding a child once in a while instead of sitting on your butts trying to discredit grieving parents. As a mother, I'm telling you to go to hell!
Another reader writes, 07/17/01:
According to this Website, Christopher was abducted, but is now home:
"Many of you have been asking me about this email report, and I am happy to say that I did finally speak to the family today, and this case is now happily closed. The family has asked that all the details not be shared, but CJ was abducted, but has now been returned home safe to his family!"
A reader forwards a personal note from a friend, 07/17/01:
"The missing boy is a friend of Dave's Aunt Myrna. So sorry to say... It is real."