3 Instances Social Media Customers Helped Police Remedy Crimes


True crime is a highly regarded area of interest in our tradition, with in style YouTubers and podcasters typically discussing instances or exploring unsolved mysteries.


However social media communities have additionally gotten concerned in cases—and on a number of events, they’ve even helped police of their investigations. Listed below are three examples of when social media customers assisted the police with their investigations…

1. The Identification of the “Grateful Doe”

Lab technician wearing blue gloves and working

A subreddit really helped with the identification of a “John Doe” in January 2015, following 20 years with out an ID.

The case associated to 2 males who have been concerned in a deadly automotive accident in Virginia in 1995. Whereas the motive force of the van was instantly recognized as 21-year-old Michael Hager, his younger passenger’s id remained unknown for 20 years.

It’s suspected that Hager fell asleep on the wheel and his van struck a tree, killing each of the younger males immediately.

On the time he was discovered, the younger man had two ticket stubs for the band The Grateful Useless in his pocket and he was sporting the band’s T-shirt. A word was additionally discovered on his person who mentioned, “Jason, Sorry we needed to go, see ya round, name me #914-XXXX. Caroline T. & Caroline O. Bye!!!!”.

He was named “Jason Doe” by investigators. 10 years later, the web renamed him the “Grateful Doe”.

An Australian Redditor named Layla Betts turned fascinated about Jason Doe’s case. She created a subreddit known as r/GratefulDoe within the hopes of figuring out the younger man.

Her group ultimately grew to have 1000’s of members and Jason’s case went viral.

At some point, Layla obtained a message from a Redditor named Steve. Steve mentioned that the composite images of the Grateful Doe appeared very very like his school roommate, Jason Callahan.

He described Jason as a “hippie” and an enormous fan of the Grateful Useless. He mentioned that the final time he noticed Jason was in 1995.

Steve despatched Layla images of his good friend, which have been an identical to the composites of the Grateful Doe.

Jason Callahan went lacking in 1995. The 19-year-old had left his Myrtle Seaside dwelling to comply with The Grateful Useless round the USA whereas they toured.

On the identical time that Steve reached out, Jason’s mom, Margaretta Evans, got here throughout the subreddit. When she noticed the images of Jason and the Grateful Doe’s profile, she filed a report with the Myrtle Seaside, South Carolina police division.

The hyperlink between the 2 instances was confirmed with DNA proof from Jason’s household, which matched Jason Doe.

After 20 years of ready, the Callahans lastly discovered what had occurred to their cherished one, because of the work of a part-time web sleuth.

2. The Homicide of Jun Lin

Person outside standing in the dark above another person who is laying down

In case you reside in Canada, you will most likely keep in mind this case properly. Jun Lin was a 33-year-old worldwide pupil from Wuhan, China.

On the time he went lacking, he was attending Concordia College in Montreal, working in the direction of a level in pc science.

When he failed to point out up for his part-time job at a comfort retailer and his associates had not heard from him, Jun Lin was reported lacking on Might 29, 2012.

A couple of days earlier than, a video depicting a grotesque homicide was uploaded to a gore web site. A number of viewers of the video and a US legal professional tried to report the grotesque video to legislation enforcement, however their experiences have been dismissed.

However issues modified when human physique elements have been mailed to Canada’s Conservative and Liberal events, and a torso was discovered outdoors of a Montreal house constructing.

Ultimately, the killer was recognized as Luka Magnotta. In the meantime, DNA proof confirmed that that the physique elements discovered outdoors of the house constructing, the place Magnotta lived, have been Jun Lin’s.

Shortly after, Jun Lin was recognized because the sufferer within the video.

Magnotta had really been on the police’s radar for months earlier than Jun Lin’s homicide attributable to different crimes he had dedicated and uploaded on-line.

From 2010, web sleuths had been making an attempt to trace him down attributable to Fb movies depicting him killing kittens.

The animal advocates, who known as themselves “The Animal Beta Challenge”, watched the movies for figuring out clues, just like the perpetrator’s bedspread and furnishings.

In early 2011, the group recognized Magnotta as the person within the movies and pinpointed his location to be Toronto, Ontario.

They tried to warn the authorities of Magnotta’s conduct and whereabouts, worrying that he would quickly transfer from animals to people, however they have been dismissed.

On the finish of the day, whereas social media customers helped get Magnotta on the police’s radar, DNA proof and police work in the end solved the case.

In December 2019, a controversial documentary was launched about the case and the animal rights activists who labored to determine Magnotta.

 3. The Hit-and-Run of Susan Rainwater

Dark road lined with trees at night

Typically social media customers who assist clear up crimes aren’t followers of true crime podcasts—they simply stumble throughout instances and handle to supply insightful data.


This is what occurred within the investigation into the hit-and-run of Susan Rainwater, the place a photograph asking for customers to determine a automotive half helped clear up the case.

Rainwater was driving her bike 60 miles South of Seattle when she was hit and killed by an unknown driver who fled the scene. With few clues to go on and no witnesses, the police have been stumped.

The one piece of proof that they had was a black piece of plastic that fell off of the car when it struck Susan. A state trooper who arrived on the scene posted a picture of the unknown object to her Twitter account.

One in all her followers then posted the photograph on Reddit’s r/WhatIsThisThing subreddit.

Surprisingly, a Reddit consumer named Jeff knew precisely what the item was. He had labored as a car inspector for a few years and acknowledged that the piece of plastic was part of the headlight bezel of a late-Nineteen Eighties Chevrolet pickup.

It seems that the piece of plastic had a particular notch that was used to entry the headlamp adjustment screw. He did a reverse Google picture search and located the make and mannequin of the truck that the half belonged to.

Jeff’s publish was instantly acknowledged by the police. At the side of surveillance video, an nameless tip, and the details about the headlight half from Reddit, police have been capable of arrest a suspect.

Jeff used the abilities that he realized in his profession and his information of know-how to assist lead the police to the one who killed Susan Rainwater.

The suspect, Jeremy Simon, was arrested for vehicular manslaughter, possession of a managed substance, and leaving the scene of an accident. He pleaded responsible to the costs.

Reddit and Fb have many communities for individuals who wish to examine true crime instances and try to unravel them from dwelling. And these instances present how generally, social media customers have been capable of make a distinction.

Whereas it is best to depart investigations as much as the professionals, there is no denying that social media has performed a job in sure instances over time. Giving the victims and their households the closure they wanted.


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