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Woman Uses Facebook To Spread Awareness of Wanted Man

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A Cedar Rapids woman said her efforts may have aided in the arrest of a Monona fugitive.

Dubuque Police arrested Troy Laufenberg, 21, in Dubuque Saturday night around 9:30 p.m. He faces child endangerment and drug charges. He is accused of severely injuring 18-month-old Myah Larson in July. Doctors said the Monona girl suffered injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

Something about Myah Larson caught Jody Mitchell's attention. "I don't know why, it's just something that hit me in the heart and I decided this guy needs to be caught. There's too much of it going on," Mitchell said.

Mitchell and two other moms, Jenny Tewes of LaCrosse, Wisconsin and Jennifer Dolezal of Lyons, Nebraska teamed up to create a virtual wanted person poster to share on social media. They used Laufenberg's police issued mug shot. They also attached Myah's hospital bed photo.

"Pictures say a lot about what happened, Then it just blew up from there," Mitchell said.

Nearly 500,000 Facebook users shared the poster. Mitchell said her Facebook page quickly became somewhat of a hub for information.

"There are some people out there for whatever reason didn't want to get involved," Mitchell said. "But yet, they thought they knew something, so they'd private message me."

The women shared that information with investigators. "There was really no where he could go that people wouldn't recognize him in the whole United States," she said.

The woman said a picture is worth a thousand words. But in this case, a picture is worth a half million shares.

Mitchell and the two other women created a Facebook page called "Tri-State Fugitive and Missing Persons Center." That's where they hope to spread the word about more missing or wanted people.

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