Claim:   A 2-year-old boy named Aden Cole Heath is missing from his Tennessee home.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, July 2009]

My name is Ashley Heath. I have a two year old son who is missing. His name is Aden Cole Heath. He has light brown hair and blue eyes. I know texts travel fast so I am asking everyone to forward this and pray. If you know or see anything please call the police. His grandma took him from Martin, TN around three AM. She is driving a green ford explorer with harley davison stickers on it. Please…i love my son.


Origins:   Missing child alerts — both actual and hoax — circulate not only on the Internet, but via cell phone text message. It’s sometime hard

to tell real from leg-pull, especially in instances where the missing were quickly found and thus actual alerts (had there been time to issue them) needed to come down almost as soon as they went up.

The 22 July 2009 abduction of 2-year-old Aden Cole Heath from Carroll County, Tennessee, was such a case. The child was unlawfully taken on that day by his grandmother, Michelle Heath. The toddler was recovered the next day in South Fulton, Tennessee, which is approximately 45 miles from Carroll County. Michelle Heath now faces custodial interference charges and is being held in the Carroll County Jail.

Cell phone text messages pleading for help in finding the boy have continued to circulate nonetheless. One received in November 2009 was not only accompanied by a photo of a mother and child (not the Heaths, however), but contained the claim that the child had gone missing from a Wal-Mart in Morgantown, West Virginia, after the mother “turned around for one second.”

Barbara “outdated” Mikkelson

Last updated:   12 November 2009


    Douglass, Brad.   “Help Needed to Locate Missing Child.”

    WBBJ-TV [Jackson, TN].   23 July 2009.

    McAlister, Keli.   “Missing Toddler Found.”

    WBBJ-TV [Jackson, TN].   23 July 2009.

    Carroll County News-Leader.   “Missing Carroll County Child Found.”

    27 July 2009.