10 Crimes That Were Solved by Social Media
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10 Crimes That Were Solved by Social Media

Police and detectives are bogged down with
so many crimes on a daily basis, it’s impossible to solve every case. Thankfully, loads of people on the internet
have plenty of time on their hands. Social media can give key evidence in a case
that would have been much more difficult to find in the past. Amateur websleuths have come together to solve
the following 10 crimes. 10. The Case of Grateful Doe In 1995, a young man was found in a car crash
in southern Virginia. His body was damaged beyond recognition, and
he did not have any identification except for two Grateful Dead concert ticket stubs
in his pocket. The authorities called him “Grateful Doe.” Years later, a computer generated image of
his face was created using his skull. Members of the online community Websleuths.com
circulated his image all over the internet, searching for clues about who he actually
was. This face ended up being posted to Facebook. Family members of 19-year old Jason Callahan
recognized him immediately, and sent in DNA samples to confirm his identity. Jason told his mother that he was on his way
to a Grateful Dead concert, but never said the location. He was originally from South Carolina, and
went on a long road trip to get to the concert. His mother had no idea which jurisdiction
she should file the missing person’s report. According to his half-sister, the family assumed
that he had cut ties with his family in order to start his own life. They had no idea he was actually missing,
or dead. 9. Twitter Solves A Hate Crime In September 2014, a group of friends ran
into two gay men in Center City Philadelphia. They asked if they were a couple. When they said “yes” the group beat and
robbed them. One of the victims was so badly hurt, he had
to go to the hospital and get his mouth wired shut. The group was captured on a security camera
earlier that night, but police had trouble identifying the attackers. They asked for anyone with information to
come forward to help solve this hate crime. A Twitter user by the name of “FanSince09”
had around 5,000 followers at the time. He normally wrote funny posts about sports
in Philadelphia. He decided to tweet a link to the surveillance
video, asking for everyone’s help. Through small clues in the video, people of
the Internet were able to find a group photograph, which lead to identifying a restaurant where
the attackers had eaten that night. Then, they looked at Facebook’s “check
in” feature to see who was there the night of the crime. It only took them 2 hours to find the identities
of the criminals. 8. The Murder of Abraham Shakespeare An online community called Websleuths is exactly
what it sounds like. They are a group of thousands of amateur detectives
spending their spare time poring over evidence of cold cases in the attempt to solve a murder
or missing persons case. In 2006, a man named Abraham Shakespeare won
millions in the lottery. He hired a woman named DeeDee Moore to be
his financial advisor. In 2009, she killed Shakespeare so she could
continue having control over his money, and buried his body under concrete. He was reported missing, but even though the
police suspected her, they couldn’t find enough evidence for a conviction. Since the police’s hands were tied, the
Websleuths community began taking action to search for any additional evidence that may
lead to finding Shakespeare’s killer. DeeDee Moore was so threatened by this, she
created her own account to try throwing off anyone who found evidence against her. Users were able to trace Moore’s IP address
back to her office. That information was passed on to law enforcement,
and it added to the stack of evidence piling against DeeDee Moore. She was eventually found guilty of murder. 7. The Unidentified Victims Every year, thousands of people go missing,
and bodies of Jane and John Does continue to go without identities. Because of this, many families never get closure
after a crime has been committed. One of the subforums of Websleuths.com is
a page called “The Unidentified.” Members of the forum spend hours going through
yearbooks, Facebook pages, and public records in order to match the forensic drawings of
missing people with photographs. There have been dozens of successful matches,
including a woman named Lynda Jane Hart, who went missing in 1988. Websleuth moderator and forensic artist Carl
Koppelman matched her records in 2011. Several other web communities have opened
up to identify missing people, including The Doe Network, and Reddit’s Bureau of Investigation. Through the power of crowdsourcing, these
websites have solved over a thousand different cases. 6. Confession Bear Reddit obviously takes their crime solving
very seriously. So, when a user says they committed murder,
clearly, they’ll want to solve the crime. A user called Narrato posted a Confession
Bear meme, saying, “My sister had an abusive meth addict boyfriend. I killed him with his own drugs while he was
unconscious. They ruled it as an overdose.” When users questioned him, he replied that
there was “some truth” behind it. Redditors immediately got to work figuring
out the real identity of Narrato. If he truly was connected to a murder, they
planned to report him to the police. In the end, he was a 24-year old man who smokes
weed, plays World of Warcraft, and practices martial arts. After one Reddit user contacted his sister,
she told them that she and her brother had moved to entirely different countries, and
she had never dated a meth addict. Turns out Narrato just watches way too much
Breaking Bad. While this was a false confession, it’s
still proof of how easy it would have been for the Internet to find a murderer who was
stupid enough to meme about it online. 5. Boots the Kitten Back when the smartphone app Vine still existed,
a teenager uploaded a video where he kicked a ginger kitten off his back porch. Even though he deleted the video, it was spread
across Reddit and 4chan, in attempts to find his identity. Eventually, they figure out that he was a
17-year-old named Walter Easley, and reported the incident to the police. PETA posted his personal information online,
and he began to receive death threats. By the way, in case you were worried, the
kitten was totally fine, but that didn’t stop animal protective services from removing
all of the pets out of the Easley home while the case was under investigation. This was especially troubling for Easley’s
mother, whose beloved pets had been taken for her son’s foolish actions. Walter Easley plead guilty to animal cruelty
in court, saying that he never meant to cause harm to the kitten, and that it was all just
a joke. 4. The Jane Doe of Akron A 22-year old woman named Christina Scates
was looking in the Highland Park Cemetery records for one of her ancestors. She noticed a grave from 1975 that had no
name. It simply said, “Unknown white female bones.” Scates felt compelled to search for the identity
of this young woman. She began to search at her local library,
and found the newspaper clipping about the murder of this unidentified woman, who had
been shot in the head. She called as many local detectives as she
could, until one finally sent her the digital cold case file. Scates uploaded the files to the Reddit Bureau
of Investigation under a username called “callmeice,” and it was passed on to the team at Websleuths.com. Carl Koppelman, the forensic artist we mentioned
earlier in the list, was able to recreate a digital version of the woman’s face from
crime scene photographs. Koppelman’s unique skills in facial recreation
have earned him respect in the criminal investigation community. Detectives and medical examiners from all
over the country reach out to him for help whenever they find unidentified bones. Koppelman was speaking to a contact in Cuyahoga
County, Ohio, where the unknown white female bones were located. It turns out that a clerical error had prevented
some of the older cases from being included in the NamUs missing person database. Once it was updated, Koppelman was able to
find Linda Pagano, and she looked exactly like his drawings. After 43 years, her family was finally able
to reunite with her remains. This may also be one step closer to solving
her murder. 3. Tammy Jo Alexander In 1979, the body of an unidentified 16-year-old
girl was found in a cornfield in New York. For 36 years, no one knew that her true true
identity was Tammy Jo Alexander. The strangest part was, Tammy is originally
from Florida. At the time, New York police would have never
thought to search in Florida for a missing girl, and the case went cold for years. The Internet came to the rescue yet again. Websleuths.com began to post the details of
the unidentified body in New York. Meanwhile, a former classmate of Tammy Jo
Alexander was looking to reconnect with her online. She learned from relatives on Facebook that
Tammy had disappeared, and felt shocked that she hadn’t noticed Tammy’s name triggering
a missing persons database on Google. That’s because the case from the 1970s had
never been put on the internet. This friend took it upon herself to make sure
the information about Tammy’s disappearance made it onto the National Missing and Unidentified
Persons System. Websleuths connected the dots in 2015. Now, the next step is to find Tammy’s killer. 2. Social Media Saves the Day In 2012, high schoolers from Steubenville,
Ohio were having an end-of-summer party in a large, empty field. As you might imagine, there were kegs and
flasks of whatever these underaged kids managed to find. The party took a really dark turn when one
of the young girls got so drunk, she passed out. Multiple football players began to sexually
assault her over and over, for several hours. Some of the boys even urinated on her. One student posted a picture of the back of
two football players dragging the girl by her wrists on Instagram, including #rape as
a hashtag. Shockingly, no one from the party came forward
to confirm their identities. The girl did not go to their high school,
so no one at the party knew who she was. A crime blogger re-posted the photos from
Instagram, and other evidence that made its way on social media, accusing local police
of showing favoritism to their local football stars. This was actually true, because many members
of law enforcement requested to distance themselves from the case, due to their loyalty to the
football community. Through this blog and doing some digging of
their own, the victim and her parents found an overwhelming amount of evidence about her
rape on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. They gathered the evidence on a flash drive,
and handed it in to Steubenville police. A week later, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond
were arrested for rape. Without social media, the victim would have
never gotten justice in the small town caught up in football hero-worship 1. Facebook solves child murder On Halloween night of 1968, a 4-year-old girl
named Carolee Ashby was the victim of a hit-and-run accident by a drunk driver in Upstate New
York. For decades, police could not find out the
identity the driver. After retiring, a former police officer by
the name of Lt. Russ Johnson posted the story about Carolee Ashby on Facebook, expressing
that he still regretted never finding her killer. The story was shared, and it reached a woman
living in Florida. The Florida woman had been friends with a
woman from New York, who told her the story of being in the passenger’s seat of a vehicle
driven by a man named Douglas Parkhurst, who was just 17-years-old at the time. He hit a small child on Halloween night. The girl carried the guilt with her all her
life, but never went to the police to turn Parkhurst in. After getting this tip, the police questioned
him, and he admitted to the crime. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations
had passed, so he could not be arrested for the death of Carolee Ashby.

67 thoughts on “10 Crimes That Were Solved by Social Media

  1. Thank you so much! I hope the drunk 17yr old at least lived an admirable life after the accident, because the statute of limitations being applicable would be infuriating otherwise.

  2. I'm appalled to hear that there's a such thing as the statute of limitations manslaughter/murder

  3. 1-2: The crimes of mainstream media/news. They might not be violent, might go unpunished but watching the change of power & resulting damage control by our corporate overlords is quite entertaining.

  4. I'm not sure I would call Websleuths amateur detectives – that might be too kind. Some of them take their "job" seriously, but others…not quite so much. Think of the most gossipy and out there theory you can come up with and you can bet it started on WS. I really wish others wouldn't always take them so seriously just because a few of them are great people (not saying you did so, though).

  5. Topic but I want to know the top 10 crime created because of social media I was actually recently attacked I think attention needs to be brought to this subject

  6. Never meant to cause harm to the kitten…

    Proceeds to kick the kitten. Genius level thinking there buddy.

  7. #2 makes me want to scream. Not surprised those cops cared more about football than a girl being gang raped after she passed out. 🤬👊🏽

  8. I thought one football player who wasn't involved nearly had his life ruined and later showed he was falsely accused? Maybe that was a different case? Anyone know?

  9. The Carolee Ashby killing happened in my hometown. Last I heard the family was filing a civil suit against Parkhurst, who is an a-hole btw, but I don’t know whatever happened with it.

  10. Websleuths?? That site is mostly a hen party for a bunch of old gossips who feel important by calling in "tips" they think law enforcement is too stupid to know about on their own. Two in particular ("roselvr" and "shiressleuth") are the worst of the worst.

  11. Some of us have taken it upon ourselves using other means with the Internet as well to assist cold cases. One case I found in a old People Magazine from our library led me to call the Northern CA Police Department which was featured. In a Internet Missing persons website there was a teenage girl who seemed to possibly fit. This murder might have included having a rolled up ball of socks shoved down her throat while she wore metal braces. Danielle Castro was the name of the girl found on the missing persons website. Don't know how that ended.

  12. I hope there is no statute of limitations on a civil suit. I hope the family of that hit and run victim can sue.

  13. That last one actually made the news today. That very same man was killed when he pushed children out of the way of a car driving through a baseball field. He was killed diving to protect the kids. It's insane how the universe works.

  14. Genuinely surprised they hadn't mentioned Eric Clanton, the college professor who assaulted someone with a bike lock. There were only a couple grainy photos, but the users of 4CHAN found him out in less than a day.

    Three cheers for weaponized autism getting justice

  15. Anyone who has watched the Lockup episode featuring DeeDee Moore should know that the woman is bad crap crazy….

  16. What an interesting development regarding #1 – he died about a month ago after pushing kids on a baseball field out of the way of a drunk driver who drove onto the field.

  17. Google "Linda Pagano" and read the first result (an article from Cleveland dot com). There is absolutely ZERO mention of anything having to do with the internet, the woman who found the grave, Reddit, the forensic artist, or anything else of that nature. It appears that police – and police alone – solved that case.

    So which one of you is lying??

  18. How long has Websleuths been up? I ask this because I remember the Doe Network being around as far back as 1998, when I searched online for more information about a missing persons' case I learned about from the FBI website. I heard of the Doe Network long before Websleuths so I'm genuinely curious about which one came first. Another great website — for missing Americans, that is — is the Charley Project.

  19. I hate when he doesn’t tell the ending. Now I have to see who these guys are that beat that couple up to hear the ending.

  20. Lol I used to fling my cat onto the couch with my foot from like 3ft away and he loved it he would come sit on my foot so I can fling him onto the couch even when he got big he liked it when I'd launch him into the air but lol this one chick thought I was kicking my cat as it kind of looks like it except I'm placing my foot between their back and front legs and making the kicking motion fast and it launches the kitten onto the couch as he got older he just liked to be flung in the air so yea it looked like I was kicking my cat across the room

  21. since i dont see any of your content covers this subject… how about a video on how john doe is used for unidentified people? when and where did it originate?

  22. Social media or not 35% of US murders are never solved. I like those odds. Food for thought for any aspiring assassin.

  23. That last one I would have only admitted anything if I knew the statute of limitations was up, as he probably did. The icing on the cake would have been "sorry pigs, but you are about 40 years too late."

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