Jan Stelmaszyk called out reports that he and his son, Bartnik, were missing as "fake news" in a Friday Instagram post. He posted photos of himself with his son and another unidentified child in Italy eating, laughing, and appearing to have a wonderful time. Included in the caption of his first Instagram post Friday were "#fakenews" and "#backtoposting."
Media requests for assistance in locating the 35-year-old man and his 3-year-old son went out Thursday. The Toronto Star explained that Stelmaszyk was known to be fond of camping on Vancouver Island and that it was possible he and his son were camping in the Victoria area. They provided a physical description of the father and son, as well along with a description of his vehicle and his license plate number. They explained that Stelmaszyk had been posting to Instagram to keep family updated on their travels, but that he had not posted for four days, causing them to become concerned for their safety.
ChekNews reported that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) told them the father didn't have cell phone access and connected to the internet through wifi whenever he could find access. He was believed to be in the Victoria area because that was the last location from which he had posted to Instagram.Police had also said that they had no reason to believe that Stelmaszyk and his son were in any immediate danger and their main goal was to do a "well-being check." A photo of the two was provided, as the general public was asked to assist in their location. Today, CTV News reported on the Instagram post Friday and said that the RCMP had not yet issued a statement.
Responses to Stelmaszyk's Friday post were mixed. Some praised him for spending quality time disconnected from social media with his son.
"Social media really is taking over our lives, isn't it? (As I sit here and type away on it). Gone are the days when you could go camping and only be reported missing when you didn't return when you said you were going to. (It has its pros and cons). Enjoy your unplugged adventures @jan.stelmaszyk. Looks like you're making memories to last a lifetime; so much more important."Others scolded him for causing family concern.
"You take the child out of the country and think it's 'fake news' the child's family is concerned? Without their knowledge?"And some questioned whether he really was in Italy as indicated by his post, with one commenting, "Lmao why lie about where you are, we all know that ain't no Italian sidewalk."