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Facebook Live video helps officers save woman on Long Island

A woman in Rockville Centre who was threatening to commit suicide was rescued after law enforcement groups across the country helped find her, police said.

An Idaho suicide crisis center received a call Wednesday morning that a 52-year-old woman from Rexburg, Idaho, was planning to harm herself and live stream it on Facebook, said Inspector Glenn Quinn of Rockville Centre police.

The center contacted the Alameda County sheriff’s office, thinking she might be in the Bay Area of California, and police there tried to calm the woman and find out more about her whereabouts. Quinn said California police saw the woman cut herself on Facebook Live video from her car. They were able to trace the woman’s cellphone signal to Park Avenue and Sunrise Highway in Rockville Centre and alerted New York authorities.

Rockville Centre police dispatched officers to search parking lots in the area at 12:20 p.m., Quinn said. A Rockville Centre officer was passing by St. Agnes Cathedral on Quealy Place around that time when he spotted a vehicle with Idaho license plates.

Quinn said the woman was found alive inside the car, about two blocks from the location California police had given them.

She was taken to Nassau University Medical Center for treatment of injuries to her left arm. Quinn said it was not clear how the woman ended up in New York, but she is undergoing a medical and psychological evaluation.

The Alameda County sheriff’s department did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Across the country, live streamed suicides and self-harming videos, including a number of high profile news stories, have highlighted a darker side of social media technology. A 12-year-old girl in Georgia, live streamed her own death on Dec. 30, and a 14-year-old Miami girl did the same Sunday night, according to local reports.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255 or the Long Island Crisis Center at 516-679-1111.


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