Runaway NJ Teen Who Caused Twitter Stir Found Safe

Kara Alongi hadn't been seen since she tweeted for help Sunday evening, a message police say was a hoax

By Brian Thompson
|  Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012  |  Updated 1:39 PM CDT
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Runaway's Tweet Sparks Social Media Storm

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Runaway's Tweet Sparks Social Media Storm

A teenager's tweet asking for a 9-1-1 call sparked a viral response that flooded her home town's police department. It turned out she ran away, but now there are questions about how to handle the response. Brian Thompson reports.
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The runaway 16-year-old New Jersey girl who set off a Twitter firestorm after she falsely indicated an intruder was in her home and then disappeared has been found safe, police say.

Kara Alongi was at a rest stop near Exit 1 on the New Jersey Turnpike when she spotted a state trooper and approached him Tuesday afternoon, police said. The Clark teenager was taken to a hospital in South Jersey for evaluation and then reunited with her family later Tuesday evening.

Alongi was released after undergoing additional evaluations at a different hospital and returned home. Clark police say detectives will interview Alongi to learn about the circumstances surrounding her running away and why she told followers there was an intruder in home before she did.

"We still don't know why she tweeted that tweet," Police Chief Alan Scherb told NBC 4 New York.

Alongi gained thousands of followers after asking people on Twitter to call 911 Sunday because an intruder was in her home and then vanishing. People re-tweeted her message and #helpfindkara trended on the social network.

Investigators later said it appeared Alongi had voluntarily called a taxi company and gotten a ride to the Rahway train station, which police say was confirmed by a surveillance photo captured of her at the depot.

Alongi's case continued to polarize the Twittersphere Tuesday, as some insisted she had met foul play and prayed for her safe return. 

Others were skeptical from the get-go, pointing out a Tweet that allegedly popped up on Alongi's account shortly after her initial call for help that said: "Why is everyone saying I'm missing? I was jkin haha" and was deleted a short time later.      

When NBC 4 New York called the missing girl's home, someone quickly answered "no comment" and hung up. No one answered the door.

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