Police are investigating “sick” comments made on Facebook about the abducted five-year-old April Jones by a Chorley man.
Users of the social networking site were outraged after seeing a “disgusting” message posted by the man.
April, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was last seen playing on her bike at 7.30pm on Monday near her home in Machynlleth, mid Wales.
Networkers alerted police about the comments, also relating to missing youngster Madeleine McCann.
And they responded with hundreds of angry posts. many including threats, which prompted a response seemingly from the man’s mother, who condemned his actions and pleaded with other users to stop the tirade.
One post seen by the Evening Post on the suspect’s account said: “could of just started the greatest facebook argument EVER !!!”
The response, believed to be from his mother, said: “You should stop and think things out before opening ya gob - that little girl may have had her life cut short too soon the anguish her parents family and friends are going through right now is beyond thinking about.”
However, the posts from the account continued, including messages such as “do you ever get bored off seeing your own name”.
And in response to hundreds of abusive messages, the Facebook user then said: “It’s just a joke that went to far these people who write all this don’t even know me it’s just all abit out of hand”
One Facebook user from Chorley, who asked not to be named, said she was “disgusted” by the messages.
The mum said: “It’s absolutely unbelievable. I’ve got a little girl who’s six and it doesn’t bear thinking about what her parents are going through.
“I’m constantly checking updates because it does hit home. My little girl does play out on her bike and it could be anybody. It could happen anywhere. People making jokes about it are sick.”
She said the message poster had claimed his Facebook account had been hacked.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said the force had received a complaint in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Facebook is also investigating the incident.
She said: “We are still investigating. We have managed to identify who has made the postings, so our inquiries are continuing.
“The postings have been removed, so they are no longer in the public domain.”
Mechanic Mark Bridger, 46, a friend of the Jones’ family, was arrested on Tuesday.
He is still being quizzed by police in connection with April’s disappearance.
Police were given until 5pm today – an extra 36 hours – to question Bridger, the main suspect.