Parents in agony use social media to try to find loved ones after school shooting

Photos of students who didn't make it home go viral on social media

PARKLAND, Fla. – Panicked parents searching for students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a shooter killed 17 people Wednesday in Parkland, were sharing their children's photos on social media and asking for help. 

Michelle Wiseman was among the 2,840 Facebook users who shared the photo of Jaime Guttenberg, before the post was removed. Her parents, Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg, later learned that Jaime died in the shooting, while their son, Jesse, made it home. 

Jaime Guttenberg, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was killed in the Feb. 14 shooting at the school in Parkland.

"Praying for all of the families and kids," Wiseman wrote.

The Broward Sheriff's Office had yet to release the identities of the 17 dead or the 17 who were rushed to Broward Health North, Broward Medical Center, Broward Health Coral Springs and West Boca Medical Center. Authorities identified the suspected gunman as Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former troubled student at the school. 

Broward Health Medical Center received seven patients, out of which two were in life-threatening condition. Broward Health North received eight patients and one suspect. Three were in life-threatening condition and two died. Broward Health Coral Springs received one patient with non-life threatening injuries. 

Full Screen
1 / 18

It wasn't easy to get updates on social media, because most of the students posting on Snapchat and Instagram were using pseudonyms. A Twitter user known as "The Captain Aidan" published unidentifiable photos of himself and other students in a classroom. They were all sitting on the floor using their cellphones. 

"My school is being shot up and I am locked inside," he wrote. "I’m f---- scared right now ... Please don't just send your love to me, but pray for the victims' families too," he wrote. "Love you all."

He later identified himself as a freshman and shared photos outside of the school where other parents were frantically waiting for updates. He also tweeted he and his brother were safe and with their parents in the car. 

Chad Reidlinger, a friend of the Winkander family, shared a photo of Ben Wikander, a senior who hadn't contacted anyone Wednesday afternoon. His parents used the "Find My iPhone" app and his phone showed up in the hospital, but when his father arrived no one was able to provide any information. 

Ben Wikander

"If any child has seen him or knows anything, please reach out. Thank you," Redilinger wrote. 

Hours later, Ben's parents learned he had been shot three times and was having surgery at Broward North. 

Shawn Malone Reeder Sherlock shared a photo of her niece, Gina Montalto, who was wearing ripped jeans and a floral burgundy top when she left to school in the morning. She said none of her friends knew where she was. 

"Help us! Please stop what you are doing. We need to find my niece," she wrote in a post that had been shared at least 12,300 times. 

Gina Montalto, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was killed in the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the school in Parkland.

Melisssa Dibble shared a photo of Alyssa Alhadeff, a student at the high school. They were hoping to connect with an ER doctor who could give them information and were asking for help. 

"We have family members at each hospital, but there has been very little information given," Dibble wrote. "Prayers needed."

Martin Duque, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was killed in the Feb. 14 shooting at the school in Parkland.

Chris DeVito said she was searching for Martin Duque, a freshman who was in the school during the shooting.  

"My nephews and son are students at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas," DeVito said. "We have located all but one. Can you please post this picture."

Robin Maisner asked for help. He published a photo of Meadow Pollack, a student at the school, and asked everyone to share it on social media. 

Meadow Pollack

"Please let me or my family know -- she was in Douglas. We are extremely worried. Anything helps," Maisner wrote. "Please share this post."

Tara Bazinsky shared a photo of Cara Loughran, a student who hadn't been found as of 9 p.m. 

"Please share and help us find her," Bazinsky wrote on Facebook.

Cara Loughran

Joseph Chiarella shared a photo of Nicholas Dworet, a senior, who also didn't make it home. Chiarella wrote his daughter was his girlfriend, and she and his friends hadn't heard from him. 

Nicholas Dworet

"Please ask your kids if anyone has seen him," Chiarella wrote. "We have not heard from him yet."

Joaquin Oliver had also vanished. 

Joaquin Oliver

About the Authors: