Viral human-trafficking rumor targets Shelby Township Meijer

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, MI – Hundreds of people became concerned and started getting answers when a message was placed on Facebook about an attempted abduction of a 25-year-old woman from Meijer in Shelby Township.

The information that Jennifer Sondey shared out on social media caused an uproar. Shelby Township Police have confirmed that the content of the message is indeed not valid and just a horrible rumor.

Sondey’s false account of an attempted abduction has been shared out over 7,100 times across Facebook. She placed the following message to Facebook on Monday August 28th, 2017 at approximately 6:00PM:

UrgentU??????please, share!!!!!!!!!
Shelby TWP ???????????
My clients daughter wanted me to share. So while at work today I found something very important for all you parents to know about! PLEASE be very vigilant while out at the Meijer on hall Rd in Shelby TWP mi! According to her pastor, one of their member was almost abducted from the bathroom inside of the Meijer. This woman and her daughter who is 25 years old went to this Meijer and while they were there, the 25 year old had to use the bathroom. Well her mother started to worry when she hadn’t came out for awhile, so she went to check on her. As she was walking up to the bathroom door, 2 women had her daughter by each arm and was dragging her daughter out of the bathroom saying move out of my way we need to get my friend help! she was passed out. The woman’s mother immediately started yelling at these women saying you’re not my friend’s daughter, I don’t know you! you leave her alone I’m calling the police. They then ran out of the store and into a van with 2 other males in it. 911 was called and she was transported to the hospital and her stomach was pumped. The doctors still don’t know what these people drugged her with but suspect chloroform. She is almost 25 and almost abducted for sex trafficking in broad daylight inside the Meijer bathroom. Please watch your loved ones close and stay together. This is too close to home!! Please share to as many people as you can so they can be on the lookout too. Thank-you!

Messages like the one posted today end up finding a life of their own and they go viral across the internet. The post is generally the same with some changes in the content. The message found today is the first with that particular content that has been brought to our attention.

On October 22nd, 2013 MI Headlines ran across a similar situation that involved the Meijer store in Grand Rapids and human trafficking. The Grand Rapids Police Department looked into the posting from Linda Holland and found it to be false. The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office investigated another instance claiming much of the same problems at the Meijer in Ionia.

The problem of human trafficking is real and does exist in Michigan but just not in the cases listed. “Human trafficking is a serious issue and that part is frustrating,” said Detective Sgt. Phillip Hesche of the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office when he spoke with a reporter from MLive. “We’re looking to combat that in law enforcement, and then we’re also dealing with false rumors. That makes our job more difficult.”

If you see information like these examples on social media, immediately question to yourself if you think the message is actually valid. Then take the steps to verify if it is true or false. Verifying information can easily be done by doing a quick search on Google or even through Facebook. If you do not find anything to answer your question, pick up the phone and call your local police department to see if they know anything about a potential problem.

Messages like these on social media needlessly cause a great deal of fear and concern.

As of 10:00AM on Tuesday, August 29th, Jennifer Sondey removed the message after being pummeled with comments that were not in her favor.

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