Grandparents of missing girl use British Facebook friend to track down estranged father
HOLLYWOOD, CA (FOX 11) - An online gamer from Britain is being hailed as a hero after he solved the case of a missing Hesperia girl from his bedroom 5,000 miles away.
21-year-old Harry Brown was able to track down missing 4-year-old Yvette Henley by convincing her estranged father to let him send them a pizza.
"Instead of the pizza he got the police officers at the door," Brown told FOX 11 on Monday.
Back in June, Yvette was staying with her father, Virgil Henley, but a court would rule that she was in danger, and guardianship was granted to her grandparents, Gary and Kim Forester in Hesperia.
After that ruling, Virgil and Yvette disappeared, and after several weeks, police were unable to find them.
"I get a message from this couple, this grandfather messaged me out of the blue, saying that his grand daughter was missing," Brown said.
In a huge coincidence, Yvette's grandparents noticed Brown was Facebook friends with a "Mark Johnson", which was an alias account Virgil was known to use.
They reached out to Brown to ask for his help.
"He had been tagged in a meme I liked so we connected on Facebook and spoke a few times about a year ago," Brown said. "As soon as I got this message I thought wow I need to start trying to message him again cause he thought we were good friends at that point because we've had a few conversations before."
Brown told FOX 11 he immediately messaged Virgil and tried to tease information about his location out of him over a span of several days.
"I went through tons of things, I tried sending him money through Western Union to see if I could get his location that way, tried getting him to screenshot his weather app, cause that would show where his location was," Brown said.
When that didn't work, Brown offered to send Virgil a pizza.
Virgil initially resisted and said he he had kidney stones, but finally said yes, and gave Brown the address of a motel he was staying at in Kingman, AZ with his girlfriend and Yvette.
Virgil added that he preferred Papa John's with pepperoni.
"I almost dropped my phone cause I started shaking instantly I was like I can't believe I actually did it!" Brown said.
Brown immediately sent the address to Yvette's grandparents, who relayed the information to police.
Officers rushed to the motel, and Yvette was recovered safely. Her grandparents thanked Brown by flying him out to Los Angeles.
"They had two grand in reward money and they sent that over straight away and they paid for my flight here, flight back, everything," Brown said.
It's his first time in the United States, and despite all there is to see, he says nothing will top meeting the little girl he was able to rescue, from the other side of the world.
"It was crazy, it made it all feel real, it was like a dream, but now it's all real life," he said.
Forester told FOX 11 off camera that Virgil was temporarily taken into custody by police, but never charged, which the family is upset about.
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