Updated August 22nd, 2012

(MPN) – The families of three missing children are “furious” after discovering magnets bearing their childrens’ pictures – and names – have been sold online nationwide without their knowledge.

The name of the organization selling these magnets is NeverForgotten, and originally claimed to be based out of Virginia. Since mid-to-late July, the owner of the website has been advertising magnets with pictures of missing children for $10 each, claiming that no profit is made, and the magnets are for “awareness purposes” only. However, parents of three missing children have confirmed to MPN that they were never asked permission – nor did they authorize – the use of their childrens’ names or pictures – for the purposes of sale.

We first became aware of this organization after being contacted by the loved one of a missing woman who has asked to remain anonymous. The woman told MPN she felt something was “hinky” about the website, as there is no valid phone number, and all references to the organization’s mission statement appear vague. She filled out the contact form seeking more information – and received an immediate response – asking her to forward every piece of her loved one’s case information to their inbox, so they could “review” the missing woman’s situation. When the woman refused to provide sensitive case information, she received a follow-up response from the site owner, calling her names, and taunting her about the site and its content.

We reviewed the website – and the organization’s FaceBook page – and also became suspicious. The next step was to begin contacting the parents of the missing children to confirm whether or not they had knowledge of – or had approved the usage of – their childrens’ pictures and names for this organization.

Anna Ysasaga-Cuevas, mother of missing Lubbock teen Mark Ysasaga, was “furious” when learning of the magnets. “I have no idea who is doing this at all,” Anna told MPN. “No one called me, no one asked me if they could use my son’s picture.” Anna immediately told her friends, family, and supporters to cease all distribution of the site’s information, and told them she had not approved the use of her son’s image to any website for the purposes of profit.

Meanwhile, 110 miles southeast of Lubbock, the family and friends of missing Colorado City, TX, teen Hailey Dunn are also reeling from the news that her picture is being sold on the Internet. Cindy Glasco, Hailey’s aunt, also confirmed to MPN that the missing teen’s mother, Billie Dunn, did not authorize the use of Hailey’s picture or name to Never Forgotten. The family of the missing teen has worked extensively with the local public, searchers, and Law Enforcement in terms of allowing Hailey’s picture to be distributed via “missing” fliers, smartphone fliers, and even a banner for local events hosted by searchers, but they never authorized the use of Hailey’s picture for sale to Never Forgotten.

A third family has now come forward to assert that they, too, did not approve the use of their daughter’s logo on the site. A representative for the family of missing “Baby Lisa” Irwin told MPN today that they, too, were unaware of the magnets being sold; and, like the families of Mark Ysasaga and Hailey Dunn, never authorized permission for their daughter’s image to be used.

As of today, the three above-mentioned magnets have been removed from Never Forgotten’s site; however, new ones have turned up in their place(s). Magnets are now being sold with the images of “Baby Kate” (Katherine Phillips), Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds, North Dakota toddler Reachelle Smith, and missing Iowa cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook. If the pattern continues as it has for the last month, the parents of these children are currently unaware that their daughters’ images are being used for the purposes of sale.

Matthew Brownfield, whose name appears as the owner of Never Forgotten, responded to our request for comment last night on the organization’s FaceBook page, claiming, “We have received permission from all the families whose magnets we are selling.”  Obviously, the parents of Hailey Dunn, Mark Ysasaga and Lisa Irwin dispute that claim, and are concerned other parents will now fall victim to this same scenario.

Adding additional concern to this situation are the unusual amount of new “missing persons’” websites, which have mysteriously cropped up over the last 90 days. Several new organizations – some with ties to Matthew Brownfield – and others with ties to another suspected individual – have been analyzed by the MPN research team, and show alarming patterns in sentence structure, mission statements, and lack of valid contact information. Furthermore, e-mails received by our team – and by friends and family members of missing children – also appear to match the patterns of Never Forgotten’s website.

And although the Never Forgotten website has been up – and selling magnets – since July, a search of the organization’s 504 “revised domestic non-profit status” (not 501c3) shows Matthew Brownfield – or whomever he is – did not file his business until August 17th.  This discovery invalidates Brownfield’s original claim that the organization was a 501c3, and clearly disputes the reference to a Virginia-based business.

Federal law enforcement agencies have now been alerted to the situation – not only surrounding Never Forgotten – but also of the new sites which seem to be cropping up almost weekly. Paypal is now investigating to determine if fraudulent activity is occuring on this site – and others – and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC’s) Child Exploitation Division has also opened an investigation. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has also been notified, and is looking into the matter as well.

Anyone who has purchased one of these magnets is being encouraged to contact their local FBI field office to file a report. If you have had contact via e-mail or phone with the owner(s) of Never Forgotten, we encourage you to reach out to us here at MPN. And most importantly, if you are the parent of one of these missing children whose images are being exploited online for sale, we urge you to contact your case detective immediately.

SOURCE: http://missingpersonsnews.com/families-of-missing-children-furious-over-sale-of-magnets-on-the-internet/