I don’t mean to sound callous, but I am, so that’s how it comes out*

I’ve just received an email forward asking me to look out for a missing kid called Reachelle Marie Smith. As with 99% of these things, the email’s a load of nonsense: while it is indeed based on a real case, the girl didn’t go missing from Woking (as claimed; another version says it happened in Australia); she went missing from North Dakota. She isn’t three; if she’s still alive – which, quite frankly, is really bloody unlikely – she’ll be seven. Etc etc etc.

This Washington Post story might be useful if you’ve received the version of the mail telling you to look out for Leigh Cowen who “may be en route to Kansas”. He’s not en route to Kansas any more, and hasn’t been since 2006.

Leigh Cowen, 22, was found Tuesday inside a van on a gravel road at the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge, authorities said. Cowen appeared to have killed himself by carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you really, really must forward every tear-jerking email demanding people check their sheds for missing kids (and here’s a hint: you really, really shouldn’t), at least forward the right bloody information.

* When I’m in a bad mood I tend to channel Bill Hicks.