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FactCheck: No, a 6-year-old boy has not been kidnapped in Navan

Posts containing this false claim have been shared on Facebook recently.

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A SCREENSHOT OF of a fake headline purporting to be an article about about a kidnapped child in Navan has been shared on Facebook in recent days.

The redheaded child, named in the post as Josh, is not missing from Navan. Gardaí confirmed there are no active investigations into an abduction in Navan at the moment. 

The exact same image has been shared before but in various locations across the UK. 

News agency Reuters has previously factchecked the same post which was being shared in England at the time. 

The link attached to the screenshots directs the user to a suspicious website.

It is advisable not to click on this link if you see this post shared online. 

The claim 

the post A screenshot of the article.

The posts links to an article with the headline: ’6-year-old Josh from Navan has been kidnapped. Manhunt is currently underway. Do you recognise him?’

This particular link was sent into a Navan buy-and-sell swap group on Facebook recently.

Different versions of this post with different location names have been seen by people on Facebook almost 200,000 times since Monday. 

However, Navan is not the first place this post has been shared. It has also been shared in parts of the UK including Bournemouth and Newbury, with the headline altered to change the place name. 

A screenshot of a post shared in a Facebook group in Newbury in England shows the same post with a slightly altered headline. 

newbury The headline changed to suit Newbury.

A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said this “appears to be a scam/false report”, adding that a similar fake report “has been used at different locations across the country”.

Reuters factchecked this post shared in Bournemouth a few days ago. The website being shared looks suspicious and Reuters said it is likely a phishing website. 

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A Google reverse image search of the redhead child pictured in the article links back to several toddler hairstyling blog posts and articles dating back as far as 2018.

If you search on Google images for ‘young ginger curly hair boy’, this image is also one of the first ones that show up.

In terms of whether any child fitting this description has been kidnapped in Navan recently, a garda spokesperson said: “An Garda Síochána does not comment on third party material or comment on named individuals.”

However, the spokesperson added that there are “no active abduction cases in Navan at present”.  

The verdict

This article is false and this boy is not missing from Navan, Bournemouth or anywhere else in Ireland or the UK. 

The piece linked in posts on Facebook brings users to what appears to be a phishing website.

The name of the location in the headline has also been changed several times. 

Furthermore, there are no current reports of a kidnapped boy in Navan.

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