Online connections could hold clues about missing girl

The mother of a 12-year-old honor student, who has been missing since Monday morning, disputes police claims that the girl may have run away with an older man.

The search continued Wednesday evening for Billie McGee, who disappeared on her way to S.R. Martin College Preparatory on Monday morning.

Tina Brown, who disputed claims that herdaughter had any reason to run away, said she called her daughter at 7:15 a.m. Monday to tell her that she was running late on her graveyard shift as a hospital social worker. The family lives a block from Balboa Park station, and Brown told her daughter to take a bus to school, a request Brown said she is never comfortable with.

“There was no reason for her to run away,” she said. “I told her good night and she was waiting for me to pick her up in the morning.”

But police believe there may be more to the story. McGee may have had a disagreement with her mother before she disappeared, according to Capt. Marsha Ashe, head of the department’s juvenile division. Brown had given her cell phone to her daughter only to later find “inappropriate” text messages, Ashe said.

“Twelve-year-olds sometimes act older than they should,” Ashe said. “They think they know it all but they don’t.”

McGee had met a few older men online, according to Ashe. Investigators have met with them and they said McGee said she was much older. Though there was no computer at McGee’s home, police are still searching for others she may have met while on a social-networking site.

It is becoming more difficult for parents to keep tabs on what their kids are up to online, according to Leo Sosa of San Francisco Digital Connectors. Sosa lectures parents in San Francisco schools to keep up with newtechnology.

“These kids are so fascinated with technology, and they get so comfortable with it that they feel they need to share this personal info with people every day,” Sosa said.

McGee was last seen wearing a black-and-white jacket with a white collared shirt and black pants. She is black with black hair, brown eyes, 5’ 5″ tall, and weighs 140 pounds.

bbegin@examiner.com

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