TROLLS have targeted the family of missing man Kieran Smith, posting obscenities online, making threats and feeding false information to the police.
The 24-year-old went missing from his home in Harcourt Road, Fareham on Tuesday.
His friends and family have been desperately searching for him ever since as they were deeply concerned for his mental health.
Kieran’s stepfather Howard Payne, also of Harcourt Road, said the family had been shocked by the extent of false information, which has hampered their search by focusing their attentions in wrong areas.
The 37-year-old said: ‘The annoying thing is that these lies have diverted our attention. We don’t know which direction he went in.
‘Sightings have been completely made up and then there have been posts on Facebook saying they are going to cut him up and that he is in their shed.
Sightings have been completely made up and then there have been posts on Facebook saying they are going to cut him up and that he is in their shedKieran’s stepfather Howard Payne
‘This whole trolling thing that people do, I don’t understand it.
The family have reported the posts to police, who are investigating.
The last confirmed sighting of Kieran was by a dog walker who saw him walking along Ranvilles Lane, just after midday on Tuesday.
Another reported sighting of Kieran in the Crown Inn pub, in West Street, Fareham on Tuesday afternoon has been found to be false.
A map that allegedly showed Kieran’s last mobile phone activity is also thought to be fake.
Yesterday, friends and family were busy searching Fareham, Gosport and Portsmouth for Kieran and putting up hundreds of posters.
Kieran’s former school friend Ben Johnson was out on foot in Fareham town centre.
Ben, 24, appealed for Kieran to get in touch. He said: ‘Just come home, we all love you. You need to get home and let your mum know. We are worried sick.’
Kieran’s stepmother Jaime Smith was also out with his half-brother Beau Smith, seven, putting up posters around Portsmouth harbour.
Kieran, nicknamed Jibba, is deaf in one ear and wears a hearing aid in the other and is a self-employed labourer.
He is slim and about 5ft 4in with unkempt mousy brown wavy hair.
He was last seen wearing baggy clothing – a navy blue woollen hoodie, navy blue T-shirt, grey jogging bottoms and white boots.
Anyone with information should call the family on 07941 092406 or police on 101.