An email from a concerned friend of a suicidal student in Verona, Italy, was mistakenly sent to a police department of the same name in New Jersey, but authorities said it helped save her life.
Mitchell Stern, police chief in Verona, New Jersey, said the department received an email from a Chinese student in the UK concerned about another Chinese student at the Verona Academy of Fine Arts in Italy.
After trying to find contact information for the Italian police department of the same name and the Italian embassy, he eventually got in touch with Interpol, a network of police forces around the world.
Interpol forwarded it to the state police in Italy.
The student was found in a distressed state when local police arrived at her apartment, the Italian interior ministry said in a statement.
The student had told her friend in an online chat that she was going to harm herself, Mr Stern said.
"It really makes you step back and think you can help to save a life half a world away," Mr Stern said.
He said the 30-member Verona, New Jersey, police department occasionally gets emails looking for lost luggage or reporting thefts in Verona, Italy.
Mr Stern said he would not have shared the story but Italian authorities saw it as an opportunity to show how police work together.