by Kevin Seraaj, Orlando Advocate
On December 13, 2022, at approximately 4 PM, police officers in Clayton County, Georgia responded to a home in Jonesboro in connection with a missing persons call. When they arrived, officers were advised that 11-year-old R’Kayla Briggs had left the home approximately 20 minutes before, without permission, carrying a packed bag.
Family members told police they believed she met up with an unknown adult she had been interacting with online. They said the child had been talking about leaving with this person for some time. They do not know if this adult is male or female. Family members have been unable to reach her since she left.
Multiple investigative and law enforcement agencies are involved.
Police believe the child is in danger, and are attempting to develop leads from existing evidence, but speculation about the child’s whereabouts is running high throughout the community. Many people are discussing the matter over social media and rumors are creating false leads that police are forced to at least consider. As a result, authorities are asking the public to step back and allow local police and other enforcement agencies to conduct their investigations without interference. Following wild theories proposed by a public eager to help only diverts attention police could be spending on more solid leads. The federal government is also assisting with the search.
Anyone with information about Arkayla’s disappearance is asked to contact the Clayton County Police Department at (770) 477-3600. While the investigation so far indicates she is still in the State of Georgia, authorities acknowledge that she may already have been taken out of state.
Once again, authorities are advising parents to monitor their children’s use of social media. Cases of sexual predators befriending kids over the internet spiked markedly during the early days of COVID-19 and the lockdowns that followed. Technology is being used by bad people in very harmful ways. It is a national problem and is not going away. Be vigilant. And call the police right away if you see an instance of someone in an app talking suggestively to your child about leaving home or meeting up outside the home.