When advocacy becomes lunacy

Tony Calabrese runs a website called “Tactical Search and Rescue” and it focuses on the Holly Bobo case, the young woman that disappeared April 13, 2011 from Darden, Tennessee, but his website has not been appreciated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and they served a search warrant and confiscated his computer.  The TBI feels the website was hindering their efforts and not helping them.

Tony is not the only one that has a website like that.  There are many more. Some are forum type websites that specialize in missing person cases, like websleuths.com, nola.com and scared monkeys.net, to name the most popular.  They are well run and they all follow strict rules and guidelines on posts that their members leave.

There are also a lot of missing person advocate pages popping up on Facebook, now, but many of those are not as well run, and don’t follow any rules or guidelines with the comments that are posted.

Many of those Facebook groups are advocates for one particular missing person, like Holly Bobo or Lisa Irwin.  A lot of them pop up, within hours of a person going missing, particularly when a child goes missing.  What you will find at some of these groups is not so much rule following, as people saying whatever they want.  Resulting in more arguing instead of debating, and more pointing of fingers than sharing opinions.

You will also find many armchair detectives, jumping to conclusions and blasting information that is unverified or assumed.  If you wonder why families of MP’s are not talking, the groups are probably the cause.

Much like the Telephone game that you played as a child, where you whisper a secret into someone’s ear and they do the same, until last person says the secret that turns out to be totally misconstrued, this is how information can be passed on the internet.  Add in the mix of a leader of the group that becomes drunk with power from the success of their page, you have a recipe for disaster.

It takes a strong hand to make sure the forum or website or Facebook page does not become a parody of itself.

This may explain what happened to Tony Calabrese.

News team talking about Tony and Holly Bobo

According to ABC news, Tony was encouraging others to bypass the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and give him the tips that he and his tactical search and rescue team would pursue.

Tony was not only doing that, he was claiming he was running a search and rescue team and had a group that could go to Tennessee, but, in fact, he was the only member.

But it didn’t stop there.  Tony even went as far as posting photographs of people and labeling them as “points of interest” with threats to their safety, and worse yet, claiming that Holly had been found.

Tony had crossed the line and became a thorn in the side of the TBI and they along with the OBCI executed a search warrant at Tony’s, East Liverpool home, when he didn’t listen to their requests to stop interfering with the investigation.

I applaud that the TBI put their collective foot down.  There has been many times, I have read comments on sites and Facebook pages, that seemed to be led by self-righteous, self-appointed leaders of a cause.  They may have begun with a selfless purpose, but notoriety and attention has led them astray.  They pick out the individual they feel is guilty, via information they have collected over the internet, and become the Judge and Jury that harass, post, bully and hound an innocent person AND their entire family.

Because they have a little bit more information than the average person, (basically because they spend all day, searching the internet for snippets of rumors) they come across as knowledgeable and trustworthy.  But, they are neither, as most times the information they have is only half, with the rest assumed.

For example, I saw one such page that was harassing a man and accusing him of knowing the whereabouts of a woman that was missing, JUST because he happened to be talking and flirting with her on Facebook, just before she went missing.  Although he defended himself, it made no matter to the accusers, as they called him a liar and demanded he tell what he knew.  Which is another thing that I don’t understand, is why the victim feels the need to answer to these types of people, as though they are going to change their minds.  The end result of that case was that the woman’s husband confessed to killing her, and the man had nothing to do with it.  Do you think any apologizes followed to the man that was the focus of their attention.  Nope.  Not one word.

The reason this is so serious is because you never know if a vigilante might read one of the conversations and  believe that the accusers know what they were talking about and take it upon him/herself to go after an innocent person.

Many times I am privy to information that comes directly from the source, some I can share and some I cannot, but the point is, I get quite an education on humane nature, and I mean humane,  when I read what other people “think” happened to someone.  If it seems to be a pretty good guess, many others will agree and slowly, but surely it will become a fact.

I think it would do a lot of these people on Facebook some good to remember the Salem witch trials, before they begin to point their finger at another person.   They need to know they are not privy to all the information that the police know.

I hope when they hear what happened to Tony Calabrese, it may be enough for them to tone down their act.

About Missing Persons Admin 4569 Articles
Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

4 Comments

  1. This is an excellent article. Tony Calabrese has caused a lot of grief to families everywhere including his own children.. They have been under so much duress and embarassment.

  2. Websleuths.com follow strict rules and guidelines to combat the vigilante mobs????? Have you seen the Lisa Irwin forum? Your quote “You will also find many armchair detectives, jumping to conclusions and blasting information that is unverified or assumed” sums it up perfectly. Mods with an agenda is what it seems like. Unverified and assumed info is allowed to become fact and when confronted as such, the posters correcting false information are the ones chastised by moderators.

  3. Tony Calabrese claims he found 2 missing teens in Polk County, TN recently during dates 11/21/12 to 11/24/12. Tony Calabrese is crazy and falsified claims! He claimed with the first missing teen that he ran a trace on cell and computer, tracked and recovered vehicle, and found the missing teen. He never found the missing teen. The second missing teen was from the same area and went missing 3 days after the first teen. Tony claimed to have found the second missing teen. ***CALL THE POLK COUNTY, TN POLICE DETECTIVES AND ASK THEM YOURSELF (423)338-8215.
    Tony ONLY helped restructure the flyer and search with both families. That's it. Families need to stay away from Tony Calabrese and report him to the police AND file complaint with State Attorney General office!

    Tony has Facebook contacts by the name of: Glenn Adams (another crazy person), Cynthia L. Dunham that posts what Tony recommends) Then there is Karen Anne Newport RN on Facebook and blogs on Websleuths and has a picture posted of Tony Calabrese standing in front of recovered vehicle(belongs to first missing teen) and the father of missing teen. Karen has posted the same photo on her Facebook wall and writes 11/24/12 on that photo, “Missing (name of teen)- Benton, TN found safe… This is Tony Calabrese. This is (teen’s name) father. Tony Calabrese found (name of teen).” Then on the same photo on Karen’s Facebook page she comments around 2a.m. 11/25/12 in the comments: 11-24-12 Tony Calabrese recovered (2nd missing teen’s name), safe in Texas. From: BENTON, TENNESSEE Tony recovered 2 missing girls in 3 days. In my book, that is a hero.
    I believe that Tony Calabrese has either the same group of crazy people as friends or he takes a lot of time updating the Karen Anne Newport RN and or Glenn Adams and or Cynthia L. Dunham: Facebook pages himself.
    I am writing this to WARN other families to STAY AWAY from Tony Calabrese! Here is his phone number: 256-483-8432. If he tries to call you, don’t answer! (Families of Missing persons often post their phone numbers on flyers which is how Tony calls you), call the police and report him as suspicious. And don’t forget to file complaint to your State Attorney General office! The fact that Tony Calabrese has had his house raided by TBI and Ohio Bureau Investigation is enough to raise suspicion: Crazy!

    Also, again be sure to call Polk County, TN Police Detectives (423)338-8215 and confirm the TRUTH and FACTS about 2 missing teens: Morgan and Myers. Be sure to ask the police of involvement of Tony Calabrese! 11/25/12

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