True crime social media phenomenon could help or hinder cases like Gabby Petito's

Criminal justice expert Adam Scott Wandt says online crime solving is a new phenomenon and is probably helping the FBI, but an avalanche of tips could hinder smaller departments.

News 12 Staff

Sep 23, 2021, 7:25 PM

Updated 994 days ago

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Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are filled with users posting tips and pictures about the Gabby Petito case -- but are these social media sleuths helping or hurting the investigation?
As News 12 has reported, Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie were on a cross-country road trip. On that trip, there were signs the two were in a toxic and possibly an abusive relationship. Laundrie came home to Florida by himself Sept. 1, and Petito's remains were found in Wyoming on Sunday. Laundrie later went missing and still has not been found.
Some important clues have been found, suchh as a blogger's video of Petito's van on the side of a trail. Social media users have also said the two were in a Wyoming restaurant, a fact that was later confirmed.
There are other tips and theories that the police are fielding. Could these tips be slowing down the search for justice or even in trying to find Brian?
Criminal justice expert Adam Scott Wandt says online crime solving is a new phenomenon and is probably helping the FBI, but an avalanche of tips could hinder smaller departments.
"If these sleuths sitting at home going through evidence, posting information, having discussions, if this is all useful to law enforcement, we need to be able to mobilize them not just on the rare case but on cases where they can truly make a difference in society and help people that go missing and help crimes that need to be solved," says Wandt.


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