Around noon on Friday, a disoriented woman walked into the Bala Avenue Community School in North York, Toronto. She had no identification, and was unable to speak English. Toronto Police Service issued a news release, and The Toronto Star published an article online with a photograph of the woman, urging readers to contact police if they recognized her. In efforts to assist with the investigation, many readers posted links to the article on Facebook and Twitter. The woman, who only spoke Fulah, a West African tongue, was estimated to be 70 years old.
Around midnight on Friday, police issued a second news release identifying the woman as 61-year old Fatoumata Diallo. They announced that she had been reunited with her family, and thanked the public for their help in identifying her.
In this new era of Web 2.0, police are able to utilize social media sites not only to help catch murderers and find criminals, but also to find missing people and connect them with their loved ones.
Sources: Toronto Star, Toronto Police Service