Google Street View Captures "Dead Girl"

By Helen A.S. Popkin
|  Friday, Aug 13, 2010  |  Updated 5:45 PM CDT
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Google Street View Captures "Dead Girl"

Getty Images

A German Google Street View car stands on display at the CeBIT Technology Fair on March 3, 2010 in Hannover, Germany.

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Her name might lead you to believe that 10-year-old Azura Beebeejaun is just another golden ticket winner on Willy Wonka's ill-fated chocolate factory tour. In fact, Beebeejaun isn't fictional at all. She's a very real, very alive little girl who caused a kerfuffle when she appeared ... um ... somewhat dead in a Google Street View image.

Concerned citizens in St. John's, Worcester, England alerted police after discovering Beebeejaun's ominous image in Google Street View, British newspapers report. And who can blame them? Beebeejaun appears lying face down on the sidewalk, arms at her sides, foot dangling from the curb and both her shoes removed.

You don't need a lifetime of "Law & Order" to know what that looks like. Residents alerted the authorities, worried that when Google Street came through town last summer, it captured —and cruised right by — the scene of a crime or an emergency. Upon investigation, officers learned that Beebeejaun is alive, well and "quite chuffed to be on the Internet. It is quite funny and I can't wait to tell classmates when I get back to school," Beebeejaun told the U.K. Daily Mail.

"Chuffed" is British for "pleased," which is pretty much the opposite of how Beebeejaun's neighbors felt about the little girl's prank. Mind you, Beebeejaun says she didn't mean to hoax her neighbors — or the Internet. ''I didn't know anything about the Google Street View car," she told the U.K. Telegraph. "I fell over while I was playing with my friend and thought it would be funny to play dead."

''It might have been a joke but lots of people were very worried," a resident who didn't wish to be named told the Telegraph. "When you see a young girl face-down on the pavement you wonder what on earth has happened to her."

Nothing, turns out. Still, some voiced concerns in several British newspapers that Google claims it reviews its Street View images, but this suspicious scene went unnoticed.

A spokesman for Google told the Telegraph that Street View cars can, on occasion, "inadvertently capture odd or inappropriate moments as they drive past."

''This is why we have put in place tools so that if people see what they believe to be inappropriate, they can report them to us using the simple reporting tool and the images will be quickly removed or further blurring applied.'' Meanwhile, Beebeejaun's prone position still appears on Google's Middle Road view in St. John's, Worchester — blurred, but just as spooky.

All the kids are doin' it! Follow Helen A.S. Popkin on Twitter, or just friend her on Facebook. What are ya, chicken?

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