A 22-year-old man in San Francisco has resurfaced having been missing for a week after meeting a stranger on a social networking app before the city’s pride celebrations.
The search for Evan Flanary attracted attention both in mainstream San Franciscan press and around the world after he disappeared on 19 June.
He had gone missing after meeting a stranger on a social networking app. The police have not named the app, but the popular gay blog Towleroad said it was assumed by many to have been Grindr or a similar system when it put out a call to help find him. Some media reports described Mr Flanary as being gay, though this has not been confirmed.
Mr Flanary’s mother, who spearheaded the campaign to find her son, said today he had gone missing for nearly a week after hitting it off “fabulously” with the person he met on the app and enjoying the pride weekend with a flat battery in his phone.
Ms Berlingeri, Mr Flanary’s mother, spent days on Facebook, searching and talking to local media appealing for information as to his whereabouts, knowing only that he had gone to meet a stranger at 5.30pm on 19 June.
Posting regular updates on Facebook, there was even a website, www.helpfindevan.com.
Earlier today, Ms Berlingeri wrote on her public Facebook page that he had returned.
She said: “He was SO SO SO apologetic that he worried about us. He had met a person, they hit it off fabulously, they were down town enjoying all the week’s festivities.
“The battery in his cell phone died and although he had a charger, it just wouldn’t take the charge.
“He never noticed the flyers but today he saw his image on a television screen and could NOT believe it. He called me just minutes before the KNTV interview was scheduled to begin, so instead of crying I was grinning like the village idiot!! I love that boy.”
The text on the website now reads: “Evan has been found safe. Praise the Lord and pass the GPS! This website is for sale. If you have a wayward child called Evan, or you’ve simply left someone called Evan in the toy department of a crowded store, have we got a deal for you!”
Jim Steyer of Common Sense Media told KTVU the mobile app arena was “like the Wild West right now”.
“There are no rules. So in a world where there’s no rules and no sheriff, and it’s the Wild West, problems can happen and I think that’s what we’re starting to see.”