WJTV News Channel 12 - Missing child Facebook scam snares Pasco mom

Missing child Facebook scam snares Pasco mom

Posted: Updated:
Christina Potwin Christina Potwin
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco (L) with Potwin (center) Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco (L) with Potwin (center)
Potwin posted this pic of her daughter on Facebook when she ran away Potwin posted this pic of her daughter on Facebook when she ran away
NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -

Social media sites like Facebook can be a valuable tool for fighting crime, but one recent case in Pasco County shows that criminals can exploit that tool as well.

Christina Potwin says when he daughter Jasmine ran away, she first called authorities, and then looked for help on line.

"I was scared.  Distraught.  I thought somebody had my daughter," said Potwin.

Potwin posted her daughter's picture on Facebook, and asked if anyone had seen her.  A man named Christian Mills responded, and claimed to know where Jasmine was.  He told her if she paid him, he would give her the information.

Potwin says she realized it was all a lie when Mills told her to send money to Nigeria.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco says this case should be a lesson to all parents, to watch what you post on social media.

"We warn people, don't tell people, 'hey I'm about to go to the supermarket or my kids are leaving for school now'," said Sheriff Nocco.  "You know, those types of things give people in the community, people out there, 'hey, now that I know you've left your house, your house is empty, I'm going to burglarize it'. "

Christina Potwin's daughter was found safe and sound, and Christian Mills never got a penny of her money.

Potwin says it was a painful lesson to learn as a parent.

"Just that there are mean people out there.  Just to hurt them.  More than they are already hurting," said Potwin.  "And I hope it doesn't happen to anyone else 'cause it's the worst nightmare."

Pasco Sheriff's officials are working with federal authorities to track down Christian Mills, but they admit it's likely they will never catch him.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:25 AM EDT2014-07-31 10:25:05 GMT
    Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool. Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool.
    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks.

    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks. And, if it invades your body, you're in for a rough ride - it's called Cryptosporidium.


  • Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:14:48 GMT
    Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled. Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
  • Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:06:23 GMT
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Gymnastics coach accused of sex with Brandon teen bonds out

    Gymnastics coach accused of sex with Brandon teen bonds out

    Thursday, July 31 2014 8:02 AM EDT2014-07-31 12:02:32 GMT
    Justin Henry, a 21-year-old gymnastics coach accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, is out of jail Thursday morning. 
    Justin Henry, a 21-year-old gymnastics coach accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, is out of jail Thursday morning. 
  • Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:25 AM EDT2014-07-31 10:25:05 GMT
    Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool. Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool.
    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks.

    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks. And, if it invades your body, you're in for a rough ride - it's called Cryptosporidium.


  • Pinellas commissioners to tour new public safety complex

    Pinellas commissioners to tour new public safety complex

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:30 AM EDT2014-07-31 09:30:41 GMT
    The complex renderingThe complex rendering
    Pinellas County Commissioners will have a VIP tour this morning of the brand new public safety complex.
    Pinellas County Commissioners will have a VIP tour this morning of the brand new public safety complex.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Teen accused of torturing tortoise faces sex charges

    Teen accused of torturing tortoise faces sex charges

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:58 AM EDT2014-07-31 07:58:27 GMT
    Greece's mug. Image Clay County Sheriff's Office/FCNGreece's mug. Image Clay County Sheriff's Office/FCN
    The teen accused of setting a protected tortoise on fire and killing it also faces sex charges after an encounter with a boy, FCN reported Wednesday.
    The teen accused of setting a protected tortoise on fire and killing it also faces sex charges after an encounter with a boy, FCN reported Wednesday.
  • Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:14:31 GMT
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
  • SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:50 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:50:00 GMT
    WFLA file photo.WFLA file photo.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
Powered by WorldNow

1820 TV Road
Jackson, MS 39204

Telephone: 601.372.6311
Fax: 804.819.5569
Email: wjtvnews@wjtv.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.