Facebook feud turns to fist fight in Lufkin

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - They started trading blows on Facebook.com but then took their fight from cyberspace to a residence in the 700 block of Saint Lo Street, Lufkin Police investigators said.

The mother of a teenage daughter called police for help after she awoke to find her daughter outside in a fist fight with two other girls.  The daughter told police that she and the girls had been "going back and forth, making comments on Facebook," and that one of the girls had said they were coming to her house for a fight.  "I didn't think they were serious.  I went outside to talk to a group of my friends and there they were," the daughter told officers.

The commotion outside woke the mother.  She called police and told the dispatcher to "send officers" and without providing any other information she hung up.  According to the police report, the dispatcher called the mother back several times trying to get more information about the disturbance, as well as, a description of the suspects and whether the suspects were on foot or driving, but the mother would only say "send officers."

"The mother kept hanging up and the dispatcher wasn't able to get much information out of her, so the suspects likely drove right past the officers responding to the emergency without them even realizing it," Detective J.B. Smith, Lufkin Police Department said.

Officers arrived at the home Tuesday about 1 a.m. to find a group of onlookers and the girl, allegedly involved in the fight, nursing a busted lip.  "Unfortunately, these types of calls are becoming more common with the popularity of social media sites like Facebook and MySpace," Detective Smith said.

Smith said LPD receives a lot of social media related complaints especially from mothers and ex-spouses.  "Things like my ex-husband's girlfriend is making threats against me."  Smith said it's hard to prosecute social media cases because most of the time the complaints never become criminal offenses. "And, even in the rare times that they do, proving the allegation is a long and tedious process."

Smith said LPD takes every call seriously, but many times their hands are tied because the only law in Texas governing social media type cases relates to "someone fraudulently impersonating someone else using the Internet."

LPD has two officers who work primarily with computer crimes.  "They stay busy.  We have a lot of cases ourselves and because we have such a good cyber crimes unit we're often asked to help other local law enforcement agencies with their investigations - it's never-ending."

The two female suspects in this case got away before officers arrived, so an investigation has been launched to determine if a crime was indeed committed.  "There's a difference between being in a fight and being assaulted.  If this turns out to be an actual assault, it won't go to cyber crimes, it will be turned over to our detectives."

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