A 17-year-old woman with a small social media following in upstate New York was killed by a person she’d met recently on Instagram, who then posted photos of her remains online, police said today.
The gory footage was redistributed widely, as well as by online posters who created light of or celebrated the teen’s death.
Others urged individuals to prevent circulating the pictures, which had appeared in online chat sites as well as 4chan and Discord.
Today, police identified the slain woman as Bianca Devins, of Utica, New York, and said that her alleged assailant, Brandon Clark, was being held on a second-degree murder charge. It was unclear whether or not Clark, who lived in Bridgewater, New York, had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.
Discord users who saw the photos yesterday alerted police. Officers were attempting to search out the teenager when the 21-year-old Clark called 9-1-1 himself to report what he’d done, Utica’s public safety department said in a statement.
Officers who tracked down the call found Clark stabbing himself in the neck, causing injuries that needed hospital treatment. Devins’ body was beneath a tarp nearby, police said.
Devins and Clark met on Instagram about 2 months ago, police said.
Initially, they were online acquaintances solely, however the “relationship progressed into a personally intimate one,” police said. “They had enjoyed time together, and were acquainted with each other’s families.”
The two attended a concert together over the weekend in New York City, where they got into an argument. They arrived back in Utica and went to a spot on a dead-end street, in line with the police statement.
There, they argued till Clark used an oversized knife to kill the teenager, police said. Authorities began receiving calls around 7.20am Sunday (local time), reporting that a person posted on a social media website that he had killed someone.
After police encountered Clark stabbing himself, he laid down on a green tarp and took selfies lying across the dead teenager before officers took him into custody, police said. The case is being investigated as a murder and tried suicide, Utica police Lt. Bryan Coromato said.
Devins’ family said in a written statement that the teenager was “a talented artist” and “a fantastic young girl, taken from us all too soon”.
“Bianca’s smile brightened our lives,” the family wrote. “She will forever be remembered as our princess.”
The family statement said Devins graduated from high school last month and looked forward to attending a community college in the fall.
Utica police said they’re working to deal with the sharing of the images with numerous social media platforms.
The Utica city school district issued an announcement saying they “share our deepest sincere condolences with her family and loved ones”.