It was a crisp late November day, and there were already early Christmas shoppers out and about fighting over parking spaces at the local town center outlet mall. I was at the grocery store with my mom the day the MISSING posters appeared on every corner in our little mid western town. There was an immediate panic that sent shock, paranoia, and fear in the mothers of Everett, the city where everyone knew everyone.
Sammy, ten years old, brown hair, and blue eyes and was last seen in Everett supposedly on his way to school. He was wearing a blue and white striped t-shirt and had a red book bag.
There was a month-long search for Sammy, some of the parents even claiming they had seen a strange vehicle the day he went missing. Parents became extra watchful and grew more paranoid, especially when another child was almost abducted on her way to school. At least that was the rumor. The truth was that no one could prove that the supposed almost kidnapping even happened, but what everyone started to realize is that no one in town was related to Sammy or even knew his parents.
Was Sammy new here? Had his family just moved in? There were no records that he was even registered in the only elementary school in the tiny town. Yet, the missing posters went out to law enforcement, and also, the FBI had Sammy listed in the database of missing and exploited children.
One afternoon, the local police chief received an anonymous email from someone claiming to know the whereabouts of Sammy. The mysterious stranger provided coordinates that lead them to an old rundown warehouse at the end of town.
I remember hearing about it from my father, who was good friends with our local police chief. When the police showed up at the old warehouse, they were able to enter from a back door. Guns were drawn, of course expecting to find someone there. Yet, the only thing they found was an old laptop with a screen image of Sammy.
It was odd, and after further investigating, it leads nowhere. Computer Forensic analysts found nothing on the laptop that would lead to an arrest. The search for little Sammy went cold.
Several years passed, and I was majoring in Journalism in college, and as a project for my class, we had to write about something odd that had happened in our local town. We had to complete the project by the end of the week, and I set to work trying to think of something odd or even exciting about the small town of Everett.
Then I remembered the cold case of Sammy, that kid who had gone missing. I did some quick research online to see if anyone ever found anything since it hadn’t been mentioned in years. It turns out, that was because the strange case of little Sammy went cold.
The other odd thing was how many people claimed to have never seen or met Sammy. He had appeared out of nowhere on those missing posters that went up all over town.
Initially, there were so-called witnesses interviewed on the local news that had seen Sammy the morning he disappeared, claiming to have seen black cars in the area that morning. When they were interviewed by law enforcement, they seemed to have realized the witnesses just wanted their fifteen minutes of fame. Our town even went nearly bankrupt, trying to find Sammy. It caused rifts between families so bad that they don’t speak yet to this day. People made wild accusations against one another, and the neighbor accused a neighbor of knowing more than they said. They stopped respecting the police, thinking they weren’t doing enough to help find the missing little boy. Eventually, it died down, but things were never the same.
I pulled up Sammy’s missing page on the internet that had been created by our small town. There was his fresh face with little freckles and missing front teeth. I happened to click on a link to other pages similar to the one our police created for Sammy. When I did, I noticed something strange.
There were other boys with different names; only they all had Sammy’s face. I thought I was going crazy for a moment until I went further still down the rabbit hole.
One of the links led me to a page on Artificial Intelligence. Computers were now able to create faces of people that did not exist. One of the faces was, in fact, that of Sammy.
I realize that this is a long shot even saying this on a public forum such as this, but I am convinced some Artificial Intelligence is behind the so-called missing posters popping up all over towns just like mine. Further investigation into those towns also led me to articles on those towns and how the disappearing children caused its townspeople to riot in the streets. In one town, they even burned the city to the ground!
There was another town in New Jersey that is now looking for a little Issac, and you guessed it. It is the same photo of Sammy.